Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Where have all the birds gone. . .

For many years, we had bird feeders hanging from a green ash tree next to our sun porch. Mostly, we filled these feeders with sunflower seeds, and they were very popular. Over time, we attracted squirrels in addition to various birds. And, over time, a thick layer of sunflower shells built up on the lawn below the feeders, squelching out any growth underneath.

So, a couple of years ago, we gave up on the bird feeders. For some reason, though, this winter, we (maybe make that I) decided to have another go at bird feeders. The day we filled our first feeder, we were hit with an ice storm. So, there hung the new bird feeder, with icicles. But with a bit of time, birds began to return. Nothing fancy--some sparrows (no doubt, the ubiquitous house variety), a few purple finches, some black-capped chickadees, a titmouse or two, and some cardinals.

We have not been over-run with birds, and so far no squirrels have found the feeders--there are now two feeders.

Then suddenly, NO birds. I mean--NO BIRDS. That got me very curious.

So I went outside and looked around. And then I saw it--on a neighbor's tree. Just watching. Maybe, just looking over the menu.



Yup. The peregrine is back. I thought I saw it the other day--dive bombing the neighborhood. Actually, it is quite astonishing how this peregrine can come swooping through, like a fighter bomber on a mission. A blur of feathers flying through several feet off the ground, unerringly avoiding any obstacle, except for some hapless bird.



Well, I will just have to let nature take its course. The only thing I can promise--no bird crime scene sleuthing for me. If I find a pile of feathers, trust me--it will go unexamined, unphotographed. But I will have a pretty good idea of what happened.


11 comments:

JeanMac said...

I feed the birds- we get ducks, quail ,blue jays and lots of small ones. Interestingly, for 3 days, not one bird! Wonder if neighborhood cats frightened them or maybe a hawk.They are back today.

Mary said...

Everyone has to eat. I've had some massacres out back and when I see the Cooper's hawk surveying, I just look away now. The birds will be back. They usually know when it's safe.

Ruth said...

Wow Donna! great bird post! And you took such good pictures.

Mauigirl said...

Amazing pictures of the peregrine! We have a local red-tailed hawk but he hangs out at the park and doesn't come in our yard. We do, however, have a lot of neighborhood cats, who occasionally catch the birds. But the ones at our feeder seem to be pretty smart and don't hang around when there's a cat nearby.

mon@rch said...

Ahah, that is a great reason to have all the birdies disappear into unique hiding spots! You move you get eaten! love the photos!

Anvilcloud said...

Ah yes, "Nature, red in tooth and claw ..."

Pam said...

Wow, wild life drama in your backyard! Your photos of the falcon are beautiful.

ocean and forest walks said...

WOW what wonderful photos of the peregrine Donna...we have a Coopers Hawk come in once in a while here..very hard to photo a peregrine...they are incredible fast flyers. Lovely.

nina said...

Nice photos--I usually only manage a silhouette--of a raptor against the sky.
You're lucky to see them so close to your house!

catbird said...

I think you might have a Sharp-shinned Hawk working your yard instead of a Peregrine. Accipiters have a talent for exploiting the clientele most feeders attract. Years ago, I complained to Dick James, who ran what was then called The Schuylkill Valley Nature Center, that a hawk had taken a bird at my feeder. He replied, "Why do you think they call it a feeder?" And the scales fell from my eyes.

dguzman said...

I love your last graf, and I understand your lack of curiosity! I guess it's the scientist (and future forensic scientist) in me that makes me look at that kind of thing, even though it breaks my heart.