Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Different Type of Predator

Bam, crackle, smash....the sound came from the screened in back porch and the birds were screeching wildly. Kiwi and Lemonade, my two cockatiels love the back porch where they can perch freely here and there and fly about at their whim. They sometimes panic in the dark but not in the middle of the day. What could have startled them?

Opening the back door, the answer flew past me to perch on the screen - a small hawk. Kiwi and Lemonade were scuttling all over the area. We went after them to make sure they didn't end up as lunch for this predator. Squawkkkkk, but they let us pick them up, though my husband was pierced severely by Lemonade's beak. She did not intend to go down without a fight!

After releasing them into the house and seeing that they could fly, we took on the hawk. The screen on one side of the porch was torn, but it couldn't seem to find its way back out. Amazingly, it let me pluck it off the screen after attempting to escape twice. With its mouth open wide, its eyes glaring into mine, it rested limply in my hands. I scratched its head as I do the cockatiels and felt its wings relax a little. Its little heart was beating rapidly in my hand.

I took it outside and set in on a stump. Our worries that it was wounded from the repeated crashes into the screen were eased as it spread its wings and swooped up into the tree next door.
Bye little one. Next time you are hungry.......go look for a mouse!

We think it is an immature red shouldered hawk. That seems the closest match in the bird book. We have a pair in our area and knew they had nested this past year. I think we just met their offspring!