This week’s photo, taken November 3, 2012 at Seattle’s Magnuson Park, features a FOX SPARROW that is about to utter the famous line, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
On Saturday, I visit two nearby Seattle birding spots. At Magnuson Park, a highly cooperative FOX SPARROW sits atop a blackberry bush and poses for my camera, offering me several side, frontal and back shots.
Later that morning, I am walking the loop trail at the Montlake Fill, and I notice two birders up ahead looking toward the top of a small, leafless tree. They are observing a NORTHERN SHRIKE (a Life Bird for me), so I hustle to get closer for a better view. Unfortunately, before I close the gap, the shrike leaps into the air, hovers momentarily, then dives into a large, leafy bush. Just as I’m thinking that I probably won’t see that shrike again, an immature COOPER’S HAWK appears out of nowhere and enters the back side of the bush, causing the shrike to instantly pop out the front side of the bush. As the hawk attempts to capture the shrike, the smaller and more maneuverable shrike easily evades its adversary. Each time the hawk leaps to the shrike’s side of the bush, the shrike swiftly flies to where the hawk just was. It’s fascinating to watch a cat and mouse game between two birds that prey on other birds. It’s predator against predator. Finally, the shrike blasts out of the thick vegetation and flies away. Once again, the hawk gives chase. The Cooper’s Hawk, however, does not dine on Northern Shrike that day, because the following day a birder reports that the shrike is still hunting birds at the “Fill”.
Other Birds of Note: