Sunday, January 6, 2019

Coyote Pair (non-bird story)

Coyotes are cautious.

I'm not sure this pair saw me, but they certainly heard my shutter click. This is our backyard. More precisely, three doors down. The neighbors put out water beyond the steel fence and the coyotes come to drink daily. The neighborhood domestic dogs alert me to their comings and goings and I'm happy for that.

Coyotes move silently and secretly, so a dog barking is my only announcement of a coyote arrival.

They are territorial and marking territory is customary, if only a few yards beyond the fence.

It's a telltale message of who's-who and what's-what and where the line is drawn.

Eventually she sees me and shifts away. I'm only a slight diversion on her way through. Knowing where the clicking sound is coming from assures her there is no danger.

She continues along the game trail leading north and back into the security of the Big Wash.

One doesn't often see coyotes in the daytime, mainly because they see you first. It's that way for most species. If they flush, flee or fly, it was because YOU were discovered first.

With humans being the top predator on earth, coyotes have far more to fear from us than we do from them.


Friday, January 4, 2019

Cooper's Hawk

A loud 'thud' alerts me to the surprise attack of a Cooper's Hawk. The low-flying Cooper's Hawk is targeting Mourning Doves feeding late one afternoon.

Panicked, one Mourning Dove flies into the sky's reflection on our patio window. Striking it, the dove is stunned, but unhurt and gets away. 

The hawk ends the chase and comes to rest on the patio railing.

Catching his balance on the slick railing is challenging though.

He searches for a firm grip along the railing... none found.

It's all slippery!

When he's just about to lose it and tumble over the side, he catches his balance again.

OK, now it's working! But this hunt is over. He might as well move on.

Surprise is the Cooper's Hawk only chance of catching a meal and he certainly WAS a surprise to the doves, just not surprising enough.

Sill, he's surprisingly elegant in his many profiles.