[CT Birds] Redpoll event

Carrier Graphics carriergraphics at sbcglobal.net
Wed Mar 6 18:05:39 EST 2013

Redpoll event -

I now get from 2 to 30 to 70 plus Redpoll a day, and this has been going on for 
6 weeks or more now. I have noticed them go from so trusting from my approach 
and movements within the windows, to absolute panic throughout the day now, and 
i think I have found out why.

Seems an Immature Sharp-shinned Hawk has zeroed in on these birds, and will 
blitz them daily, with a guaranteed capture every time. I have seen this bird 
attack 5 times now in the last 2 weeks, and all 5 have resulted in an easy 
capture. When the Redpolls are all feeding on feeder and below on ground, the 
hawks appearance makes them all take flight at the same time as a cloud of birds 
not a scattering. By doing this, the hawk passes through them with a capture 
every time. Once I observed the hawk take a single bird right off the Niger 
feeder perch. I have a question, and here is my summation...

I found, the Redpolls southern breeding range is to the southern tundras limit. 
The northern breeding limit of the Sharpie is to the northern limit of the 
Boreal forest. This tells me they do not meet each other during the breeding 
season. So to during winter migration, where the majority of Sharpies move south 
well beyond the Boreal forests. So it seems these two species do not often meet 
each other as prey and hunter often. This suggests to me the Redpoll has not had 
much time to learn of this predators presence or habits of hunting, and thus 
becomes an easy capture when they move farther south than normal during eruptive 
winters such as this one.

Just one example of how one species can benefit from another's misfortune. And 
I'm sure in other ways, the Sharpshinned Hawk might experiences the same.

Paul Carrier - Harwinton

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