[CT Birds] Birds of Prey

p.s.holden at comcast.net p.s.holden at comcast.net
Thu Jan 3 15:05:18 EST 2008


These messages about our feathered friends falling victim to birds of prey 
(or vise versa after reading Steve's message about the owl) got me to 
thinking about when I lived in East Windsor on the Connecticut River (about 
4 years ago).  I saw Bald Eagles all winter long and very often I'd see them 
take a duck.  It's quite unnerving to see, but I guess that's the way of the 
natural world.  There was one time it really hit me hard though.  An eagle 
had grabbed a merganser and it was still very much alive.  While the eagle 
flew up river with the merganser in its talons, all I could hear was that 
merganser squawking constantly and the sound got softer and softer the 
further away it got.  That sound haunted me for a very long time.

Sarah's message about the Red-tailed Hawk taking a kestrel reminded me of a 
spectacular sight I once had over in Wallingford.  At the time I really 
didn't know what kind of hawk it was, but it was small (maybe a Sharpie), 
and it was trying to take a Starling.  The Starling was putting up quite a 
fight.  After a couple minutes of this battle on the ground (my heart was 
beating a mile a minute) a much larger hawk swooped down and went after the 
smaller hawk.  Another battle engaged, this time with the two hawks, the 
starling got away, and after a bit, both hawks left.  I sat there, quite 
stunned, for quite a long time.

In my backyard now, there is a daily visit from a Sharp-shinned Hawk, 
sometimes several times a day.  He's an excellent hunter and makes at least 
one kill a day.  The other day I went out to fill my bird feeders (now I 
call them 'traps') and just 10 feet away from me sat that Sharpie, on a 
branch that was on the ground, cleaning up after his dinner.  He turned, 
looked right at me and went back to preening himself,  really not caring 
that I was there making quite a bit of noise.  There have been other times, 
where he's zipped by me like some kind of fighter jet pilot and startled me 
to death.  I'm wondering if they get accustomed to some people, like some of 
our backyard birds do.

Why don't I ever have my camera when I need it?

Awesome stuff...

Pam
Colchester CT






----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard L. Becker" <rlbecker at SongStar.org>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Great Black-backed Gull & 
Red-breastedMerganserConfrontation - also Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


> Kathy,
>
> Those were "little greenish puffballs" are easy for a Greater
> Black-backed Gull to swallow. The merganser we saw was a full-grown
> adult.
>
> Richard/CT
>
> On Thu, 03 Jan 2008 11:42:08 -0500, Kathy Van Der Aue wrote:
>
> :The greater black backs are deadly with the little eider ducklings in
> Maine.
> :It's a horrible sight to see the little greenish puffballs plucked out
> from
> :under the watchful eyes of the mothers and aunties...
> :
> :Kathy Van Der Aue, Southport, CT
> :kvda at optonline.net
> :----- Original Message ----- 
> :From: <p.s.holden at comcast.net>
> :To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> :Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2008 4:45 PM
> :Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Great Black-backed Gull & Red-breasted
> :MerganserConfrontation - also Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
> :
> :
> :> Really?  I didn't know the Great Black-Backed Gull would prey on
> ducks.  I
> :> just learned something new!
> :>
> :> Thanks,
> :> Pam
> :>
> :>
> :> ----- Original Message ----- 
> :> From: "Richard L. Becker" <rlbecker at SongStar.org>
> :> To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
> :> Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2008 1:51 PM
> :> Subject: [CT Birds] Great Black-backed Gull & Red-breasted Merganser
> :> Confrontation - also Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
> :>
> :>
> :>> At Shippan Point in Stamford this morning, we watched a Great
> :>> Black-backed Gull attacking a male Red-breasted Merganser. It was a
> :>> little too far to see clearly, but at various times it looked as
> though
> :>> the gull was holding by a wing, a leg, and possibly its neck. The
> :>> merganser was struggling, flailing its wings and legs. After about
> :>> fifteen minutes, the merganser ceased its struggle as the gull
> turned
> :>> the merganser belly up.




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