Saturday, February 4, 2012

HEAD SHOTS


The young Cooper's hawk came swooping around the corner of the cottage a few minutes ago. All the feeder birds scatted, in a hundred different directions. As usual, a few elected to dive into the discarded Christmas tree which I place nearby for just such a purpose. I put the tree out on New Year's Day, or whatever day we take down our holiday decorations, and leave it under the feeders until spring's burgeoning leaves provide even better cover for escape,

It seems only fair, giving the sparrows and finches, titmice and chickadees this handy hidy-hole, seeing as how it's my buffet that concentrates their numbers in a small area in the first place and regularly puts them in danger. I don't know how many feathered lives these repurposed trees have saved over the years, but it's certainly worth the effort. Besides, it's fun watching the frustrated hawk play hide-and-seek with whoever makes it into the shelter. 

The feeder birds plunge into the maze of greenery. The Cooper's lands on top, looks down, marks his victims—then goes in for the kill…and his would-be entr√©es squirt out the sides. Sometimes the hawk tries a side approach, hopping around the horizontal tree. The moment he chooses an entry point and leaps in, the trapped birds make their escape out the opposite side. Unless a bird panics and flies out too soon, or flies the wrong way, or hesitates when the hawk comes in, seldom does anyone who dodges into the tree shelter get caught.

That was again the case a few minutes ago. The hawk tried, several times, to corner a bird within the evergreen's interior, but couldn't outmaneuver his targets. When he emerged from the tangle and hopped back atop the tree to work off his annoyance by glaring at various inanimate objects, I took his portrait, a nice head shot that seems to reveal a bit of the hungry hunter's vexation. You can probably tell it is dark and overcast here today. And just in the last few minutes has started raining. It's colder, too, than it has been for maybe a week, though not all that cold for February. 

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You might also notice I've replaced my own head shot, a do-it-yourselfer from earlier this morning, before the clouds moved in. It seemed like the honest thing to do, seeing as how the previous picture was taken six or seven years ago—and I've since grown grayer, fatter, and of course, older. It is what it is, alas, and I do resemble the fellow in the photo.
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20 comments:

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ -

very handsome my friend, oh and the hawk too :-)
Love Gail
peace and happy Saturday

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Handsome? I wish! Ruggedly homely…but thank you for saying otherwise.

It is a handsome hawk.

Michael Asbell said...

That's a great idea! Btw, I have greatly enjoyed you blog for awhile. After loosing track for a couple years, I recently ran across it again and have become a regular reader. Thanks for sharing your life by the river.

Rowan said...

That's a great shot of the hawk - he does look rather cross doesn't he? :)
It's a nice photo of you too.

Jenn Jilks said...

You get those great photos!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

Grizz………… said...

Michael…

Welcome back, glad to have you!

Yup, if you feed birds, a old Christmas tree is too valuable to put in the trash or toss on the compost pile. It not only affords protection from hawks and cats, but also simply from the elements. Come spring, you can then do with it whatever.

Grizz………… said...

Rowan…

Thank you. Really, the hawk was not much more than a point-and-shoot out my deskside window. Mine is good for what I had to work with…which become less every year. :-{

Grizz………… said...

Jenn…

I mostly get lucky. Good to hear from you. I've enjoyed a number of your recent posts—but am awful for not commenting.

Robin said...

Oh! I love it! And I don't see much difference in the photos....

Grizz………… said...

Robin...

Lemmie see...

A. I look like a Cooper's hawk?

B. I looked as decrepit back then as I do now?

Well, thank you.

Scott said...

I've got some prized shrubs enclosed in wire cages near my bird feeder. (If I didn't protect the shrubs in wire cages, they'd be a late-night snack for the deer.) In any case, the cages serve the same purpose for my feeder birds as does your discarded evergreen when it comes to Cooper's Hawks.

Grizz………… said...

Scott...

Yup. I can see where tha would work just as good, if not better. I've thought about planting some evergreen shrubs near the feeders here, but it's just not the setting being so close to our door and deck. Winter is when it's needed, anyway... and I always have an old Christmas tree.

Grace said...

That is a great idea for an old Christmas tree. I have close by hedges and bushes for my local feeder birds to escape to, but I haven't seen any predators either (just cat tracks that appear overnight but venture no where near the feeders).

Great shot, too, of you and the hawk!

Grizz………… said...

Grace…

In the past, I always hated to go out and cut a tree for Christmas, have it up for only a few weeks, then remove the decorations and drag the tree out of the house to be discarded. Seemed like such a waste. (But one of my goofy set-in-my-ways quirks is I also feel like artificial trees are suitable only for artificial Christmasses.) Anyway, I'm pleased as can be to find a further use for my old trees. I have a hawk or two through here several times most days…so the dive-to sanctuary gets plenty of use…and I have fun watching.

AfromTO said...

I go away for a few days and you start taking glamour shots(of yourself)You do look like you had a role on Rockford files as maybe a villian with the black on black outfit.A smile could of cracked that image.But you don't look like you have aged at all since the last photo.

Robin said...

Oh, don't be cute. I love the Hawk photo and you have never looked decrepit.

Love you, too.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Villain! You think I look like a Rockford Files villain? That is my semi-Hemingway "serious writer/bad-news-bear" look, calculated to cause editors to buy my scribblings, and readers to take me for a literary artist who's delved deep inside the darkest of human conditions and lived to write the most uplifting prose about my adventure. One does not crack smiles with such weighty matters at stake.

(Neither does one crack smiles when one is pondering why the previous half-dozen attempts at a portrait failed miserably—lighting, lens, exposure…subject?)

Sheeish, a villain.

Grizz………… said...

Robin…

Trust me, I look decrepit quite regularly—and feel that way more often than not. But it's a good hawk shot.

BTW, I did plan to end my previous comment to you with a smiley face…but I was using my iPod to reply, and I paused too long, which then kept me from adding anything. I figured you'd know I was just kidding around with you.

AfromTO said...

Okay a soft fluffy villian who protects tiny birds from hawks and captures photos of fuzzy groundhogs and squirrels. As to the darkest of human conditions is that when you write about the adventure of what to put in the home made bread you kneaded that day?

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Absolutely, or some similarly mundane thing. Usually. Now and then, though, I write from the other side of the fence.