Lately it's been like we're on the Discovery Channel around here! One night during dinner we noticed a hawk swoop into our backyard. He walked around a little bit in the backyard, then flew up to sit on the fence. Then a bunny hopped into the yard and Ted started cheering the hawk on, "Come on, you can get him!" (We have a problem with bunnies.) The girls were intently watching, and I wasn't sure how they would deal with seeing raw "Animal Planet" type action. The hawk did swoop down towards the bunny, but the bunny scared him and he and flew away. Here's a picture of the hawk flying AWAY from the bunny, who incidentally was not the least bit worried about the hawk.(Sorry about the quality of the pictures. These were taken from the inside through the doors.)Another smaller hawk joined him for awhile, and still the bunny was not afraid. The hawks were perched on the fence not ten feet away, while the bunny continued doing whatever it was doing (teasing the hawks?) for at least 10 minutes before finally hopping away. After the bunny left, the hawk flew into a different tree and I was able to get a good close-up of him. Gotta love the internet. We went on wikipedia and found out that he is a juvenile goshawk. To Ted's chagrin, they don't generally eat bunnies. Oh well. The next day, M wanted to swing under that tree. She called me over because "Ew! There's something yucky!" Sure enough, on her swing and all around it on the ground were bloody and crunched up bones and feathers. Looks like the hawk had something for dinner after all, most likely a small bird. I found a squirrel carcass the other day as well, and I wonder if he was also a hawk casualty.
The hawk keeps hanging around, sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend. Last Sunday morning as we were making breakfast before church, we noticed FIVE hawks in our backyard, all lined up! We showed the girls and speculated about what they could be doing all lined up like that. G said she thought they were having "hawk church". Maybe! After snapping this picture, I called my mom and told her I didn't think they'd want to visit us anymore, since they have three chihuahuas! (Although, since they were scared of the bunny, they probably wouldn't take the puppies!) I don't know what it is about our yard that makes it a hawk gathering ground, but Ted is hoping that if they don't help with the bunnies, maybe they'll help with the moles or something.
It occurred to me the other morning that I hadn't heard or seen a mourning dove lately. We used to have so many of them around here that they would wake me up with their loud cooing. Now that I think about it, though, I don't remember seeing one all summer. Even though it got annoying sometimes, it is sad to have no more "coo, coo" of the mourning doves, now I just hear the "squee, squee" of hawks. It's been exciting having the hawks around, but part of me hopes to see a mourning dove again soon.