This week’s photo, taken January 18, 2014 from our front yard in northeast Seattle, WA, features a juvenile SHARP-SHINNED HAWK.
Saturday afternoon, I’m in the back of the house when Laura yells to me from the front, “Get your camera!” I promptly grab my camera and hustle to the front window. Laura is outside looking up at a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK that’s perched on a wire. The brown streaking on the breast indicates it’s a first-year bird, and it’s also a new addition to our yard list.
A few days later, while Laura and I are walking our regular 4-mile loop through our neighborhood, we pause at one point along our route to observe a noisy gathering of birds a few feet from the path. As I begin to wonder why all these birds are so excited at this particular spot, I notice a Sharp-shinned Hawk sitting perfectly still on a low branch. It’s yet another juvenile, and the gang of 12-15 birds have the predator surrounded, each little critter jumping from branch to branch while chattering constantly. BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, BUSHTITS, RUBY-CROWNED and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, SONG SPARROWS and a BEWICK’S WREN are harassing the hawk in a big way, doing their best to make it feel extremely un-welcomed. Then we notice an ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD that’s behaving like an annoying mosquito as it hovers only inches behind the hawk’s head. Finally, the hawk that is known for hunting other birds, flies away. The collected effort and energy of several different bird species has worked. Sometimes, it takes a village.