Predator!

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Winter arrived bring with it chilly temperatures, blustery winds and loads of snow. There were fewer birds to be seen at the feeders during the harsh weather but a real flurry of activity during the late afternoon.

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There have been quite a variety of birds in the yard lately and this week we could add American Tree Sparrows to the count.

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As milder weather moved in it seemed that all of the birds that regularly frequent the backyard had been accounted for by Thursday afternoon. All except for the Downy Woodpecker. So it caught my eye when I finally saw it feeding at the seed bell under the cedars. As I watched, it suddenly flew off into the side of one of the trees and perched on the side  of the tree trunk. It looked frozen there, and even though it was cold, it wasn’t that cold! It didn’t move a muscle. It didn’t tap or move its head or anything. And then I realized there were absolutely no other birds around. None, nada, zilch. So I looked up into the walnut trees and there it was, a Cooper’s Hawk. Actually, I should say, The Cooper’s Hawk.  I’m certain it’s the same bird that was lurking about at a neighbours recently.

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The Hawk waited and watched quietly but seemed unaware of the motionless Woodpecker hiding strategically on the far side of the tree below.  Finally, something in the distance caught the Hawk’s eye and it bolted. But the Woodpecker still didn’t move. In fact it stayed in its hiding spot without moving for a good 5 minutes. At last a Chicadee flew to one of the feeders and, although the Woodpecker still didn’t leave its spot, it did begin to look around a bit. After the Chickadee made three successful trips to the feeder and back without getting snatched from above, the Woodpecker moved up the tree trunk to the top of the tree and took a good look around before it started tapping for insects again for a few moments before taking off too! What a drama! 

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