Even during the insane heat of July (the hottest on record here in Washington, DC), birds were around, just doing their stuff — bathing in our birdbath, feeding juveniles on worms, etc. (Above, a juvenile American Robin waiting for food.)

Well, last weekend, our watchbird cockatoo was as usual keeping a keen eye out for any raptors (and cats… he hates them, even though he has never been attacked by any), and was soon tweeting his head off. Really loud tweeting, so loud that it makes my eardrums throb.

Heeding his warnings, I looked out the window. Nothing (as usual). Sometimes our watchbird just gets excited to see other birds doing their stuff (bathing, etc). But the frantic tweeting continued, and I eventually I spotted the danger — a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, sitting on a small hillside outside his window, busy tearing up and eating something.

I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera. To my relief, when I returned, the hawk was still chomping away… Photos through the window (and screen) were fuzzy — no good. So I locked our bird in his cage, and snuck out the sliding door to get better photos.

I thought I would have to sneak up, but upon seeing me, the hawk didn’t budge! It did however start to eat, what I had now identified as a little field mouse, faster. Soon it got to the point that it crammed what was left down its mouth (um… beak). It then stood for a few minutes, and eventually took off, sat on a fence for a few minutes and then moved off into the trees (followed by a bevy of squawking local birds).

A little while later, more frantic tweeting (same eardrum piercing pitch and volume), and this time the hawk was sitting in our small maple tree right outside the sliding door!

So, keep your eyes (and ears) open at this time of year. It might seem like the summer doldrums, but there is some interesting stuff happening out there!

(All photos courtesy Tim Boucher/TNC.)

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  1. Eveytime I water the garden, the birds will fly up and sit in the spray or mist. Or some just fly through it. They are so cute!

  2. I live in deep woods, mature oaks. Light breezes in treetops don’t reach the ground. A family of hummingbirds (4) has discovered that there’s a breeze coming out my bedroom window from a fan blowing outward. They gather a few feet away atop the forsythia & devil’s walking-stick with wings akimbo, twittering. They have my sympathy in 98-degree heat + 55% humidity!

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