When almost done, I felt an odd aura around, so paused to glance at the patch of woods behind the house. Six crows crouched in the tall oaks. Below them, an immature Cooper’s Hawk was eying me and the bird feeders. Cooper’s Hawks are known raiders of small birds at house feeders but my noisy presence kept the chickadees, titmice, Carolina Wrens and starlings away. Fifteen minutes later, the hawk dipped, shot toward the snow-laden forsythia shrubs bordering the woods and flushed a White-throated Sparrow, who made the deadly mistake of trying to escape over open ground. The hawk lofted back to its perch and fed. Frantically.
The two squirrels were frantic and alternated bouncing back and forth through the waving hemlock branches while the hawk clung to its perch, only once lunging at one when it teased too close.
These photos were taken at an angle, through a glass door and a screen which may have shielded the hawk’s sight from me. More likely, it was too exhausted to fly off.
The squirrels, undeterred but tiring, kept jumping into the branches at the hawk, staring and pointing but this was stealing valuable energy from them as well, so finally, like hungry football fans, they grabbed some peanuts left on the deck earlier for the jays, and resumed their vigil.
No kidding around. Winter survival is deadly, deadly serious.
Make good decisions. Be safe.