Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer 8: Hawks in Three

6:15am-7:00am, Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, OH
cool, scattered clouds, sunrise a beautiful mess of white-gold

Lesson of the day: never assume that you know a place.

I was groggy this morning, and as I wandered the cemetery I figured, I basically know all the birds here. Cardinals, peewees, robins, sparrows. What's new?

As it turns out, Mother Nature likes these kinds of challenges, and a few new birds appeared in my aural field today. Of course this happened on the day I didn't bring my binoculars!

There was this bird - which I thought was sized and moved (hopped) a bit like a robin, but it sounded quite distinct from any robin I've ever heard:

Then this chipping sound, which I always think should be a chipping sparrow, but then doubt myself as there are actually several birds who make some version of this (a single-pitched trill). On further web consultation, I feel confident that this actually is a chipping sparrow:

Most excitingly, I had my Nature Channel adventure of the week.

First I heard this unfamiliar bird-sound (listen how it morphs into a wood peewee!):

Following it led me to discover not one, not two, but at least three large birds, hawks of some kind. They had white chests and banded tails, and were smaller than red-tailed hawks.

I watched a smaller bird fly right over to the tree where the hawks were perched and get chased. Was the little bird a decoy, or a martyr of some kind?

Following the pack of them, I made my way across the cemetery. I've only ever seen two hawks at the most, so I was quite intrigued by this noisy group of three, who were quite vocal.

I lost sight of them briefly, only to be tipped off shortly by a ruckus of jays. Normally raucous, they seemed extra upset this time, and I watched as they challenged the hawks, flying and dipping close to them, and got repeatedly ignored or chased off.

Way better than the Nature Channel!!


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