Friday, February 6, 2015

Our backyard is very frozen, except for the tiny bit of Koi pond water that we keep open for birds and other wildlife throughout the winter.
From the photo above, some of our  many bird feeders can be seen, what you don't see is the ton's of seed that we also toss on the ground every morning and late afternoon for the many species of birds such as sparrows, cardinals, junco's, dove's, plus a few squirrels that feed off the frozen earth.

Of course all this bird food attracts bigger birds such as this Cooper's Hawk from a few days ago.
But when night time rolls in, the day time birds and squirrels go to roost and other nocturnal species move in.
This we know.

While lighting the outdoor grill this evening, I saw something move across the snow below the sunflower seed feeder.
It was well  hidden in very dark shadows and I could not make out what the tiny creature was, I thought perhaps a mouse, but was not at all certain.
 Looking through the dim light,  it looked somewhat like a chipmunk, but what the heck would a chipmunk be doing out in this arctic blast and at night? 
I ran inside and put a spotlight on the critter and was very amassed to see that it was a Flying Squirrel!

Wow, we never saw one of these in our yard!

It had no fear of us, our spot light or camera flash

It fed underneath this feeder for about thirty minutes.

Eating the seeds that I tossed to the ground, just before sunset, 
for tomorrow mornings birds and squirrels.
We just were not expecting this nocturnal squirrel.

What a cute little rascal!!!
Note the white area below it's arm, this is the membrane that folds out to help it "fly"
We hope to see him again soon!
BTW, it did not see it's shadow! So spring is right around the corner!
(if you live in Florida)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Backyard Cooper's Hawk

We have a number of bird feeders in our Norwalk CT backyard, Using mostly sunflower seed, suet, peanuts and thistle, plus we also have a small fish pond that is kept unfrozen even during the coldest winter days and nights for fresh drinking water for the many birds and mammals.
Of course all this feed and open water attracts many birds, chickadee's, titmouse, cardinals, bluejay's, doves, woodpeckers, nuthatches, sparrows and ton's more.
One of those species are hawks, mainly the Accipiter Species that watch our bird feeders such as Sharp-shinned Hawk  and Cooper's Hawk. 
These species make most of their living feeding on other smaller birds, as in those first mentioned,  larger hawks prey more on mammals, fish and carrion.
Late this afternoon while I was prepping this evening's dinner,
 I noticed a quick shadow blot out the low winter sun though our kitchen window, 
It passed to quickly to be an air plane, I've seen this too many times at our feeder and started scanning for the hawk.
At first I didn't see anything  and continued chopping the veggies.
Then another sudden flash flew across the backyard, I barely caught it out of the corner of my eyes, there were now no birds at any of the feeders, so this can only be one thing.
I searched and searched from the kitchen window and then finally I saw it, their it was, perched in on of the cedar's horizontal branches, a Cooper's Hawk!

 I thought he was just perched there,viewing through my bins I saw nothing other then a perched hawk. Oh what the heck, I grabbed my camera and very slowly inched my way out the side door, taking all the time in the world, inch by inch with little to no movement, I was able to get within ten feet of the hawk, he paid me no mind.

                                             Now I saw  that indeed he did catch dinner
                 I hope it was not one of our Cardinals, then I saw the black irredescent feathers
                 It was a Starling, that the hawk captured, one of the many Starlings that have been                                                                  enjoying the feast in our back yard.
      After a few shots I backed off as slow if not slower then I came, trying not to upset the hawk and                                                                  let him fill his belly
              .I made it back inside as he continued to feed for another ten minutes and he flew off.
     Sparrows, Cardinals and the whole bunch returned to the feeders to fill up before the dark set.

       I do not intend to upset anyone with these photos, I only try to show nature as it happens.
                               Sometimes I am blessed to be there at the correct time.