Monday, August 22, 2016

Hawks and Quail

We get lots of birds on our little patch of desert land. I'm sure there were lots of birds here before there were houses and people but I couldn't help but encourage them to come back after we moved in. As pre my last post we do have hummingbirds. As these pics show we also have lots of hawks that come through. We get a lot of hawks when they are migrating through. This young Cooper's hawk flew in one afternoon and let me come right under our willow tree, where it was resting. I took several of it in the tree, then a couple of it when it flew over on part of the horse pen. The next morning, when I was feeding the horses, the hawk and another one like it flew over my head and circled over some nearby vacant lots for a few minutes, I assume they were looking for rats or rabbits but didn't find any. A week or so later a hawk that looked the same flew into the willow tree again and then dived into the big pear tree near my front door. Seconds later it came out with a sparrow clutched in one foot. That tree is where all the sparrows have 2 very large community nests and they roust there at nigh. With one of the sparrows taken by the hawk they were upset and noisy all day. Can't blame them, but the hawk has to eat, too. I have seen lots of Red-tailed hawks here as well, and one something that looked more like a falcon. We have some of the small sparrow hawks that seem to stay here year round. We gave several kinds of owls in our neighborhood but of course they are hard to get pictures of since they are usually only out at night. There are a couple of great horned owls that we hear a lot in the late winter and early spring when they are mating. There are some barn owls and the cute little borrowing owls but I haven't seen any of them lately.

 One of our resident mockingbirds sat by the rain gage the other day as if he were checking it out and disgusted that we have had so little rain right here even with other parts of the state getting more.
 A young scaled quail getting a drink.
This has been the first time we have had Gamble's quail or California quail show up. These 2 have hung around all summer. Normally we only get the scaled quail as shown in the rest of the photos of the quail. The scaled quail don't have the little topknots on their heads and aren't quite as large. Glad to see the Gamble's but wonder were they came from as I have only seen them in the southern part of the state and west into Arizona and California before.

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