Sunday, January 21, 2007

Living Statues

I was having a nice moment watching our Wintering Myrtle Warbler chase some Goldfinches around the backyard. Usually this event would play out farther out in the yard but this morning they flew straight toward the backdoor.

Suddenly, the Myrtle flew across the deck, onto a flower pot, and froze right there. I was happy to have a great view of this sometimes skittish bird sitting about 4 feet in front of me. A minute later I realized that it had grown completely quiet outside. Not one peep.

Every bird that had been flitting around sparring for feeder opportunities had frozen in their tracks as well. The Myrtle right in front of me, Mourning Doves near the bird bath, and Blue Jays in the laurel trees. Nothing moved.

The next thought I had was that there must be a predator around that flew in undetected by me but definitely not by the creatures that really needed to know what was going on.

I headed back to the front of the house and grabbed my camera to try and at least get a Warbler shot. Never had to open the door and didn't want to cause this small visitor to become hawk treats on my account. You can almost see a state of fear in his eyes.

Myrtle Warbler

The only time he did move was to get a better look out into the yard. He turned enough to show why they are called Yellow-rumps.

Myrtle Warbler

Nearly 10 minutes later, the doves and Warbler had managed a side exit one by one. That left Gimpy, the Blue Jay with a broken leg that is part of the larger troop that patrols the neighborhood.

Blue Jay

He refused to budge even after I finally decided it was safer to search for the predator. I took many photos as I walked back and forth, scanning the oaks for whatever might be out there.

Not finding anything, I went toward the back of the yard and decided to reposition the bird bath that was out there. I shifted it until it was more level and stood up. Directly ahead of me on the other side of the fence in the oak tree I could see what all the fuss was about.

Cooper's Hawk

The Cooper's Hawk sat still but was swiveling its head from side to side, searching for lunch. I went inside to get the longer lens. It was still there when I got back. So was Gimpy. 10 minutes later, the hawk flew off.

10 minutes after that the Myrtle was chasing the Goldfinches again.

It was very interesting to have living statues all around the yard for a while and proved again that birds can see things we can't always see. Their lives might just depend on it.


jt said...

Awesome post! Beautiful photos. Wyneth told me I'd like your blog, and she was right.

J. Andrew Boyle said...

Thanks, Julie! (My sister's name, BTW.)

Who is Wyneth?

How did you find me?

I have 10 more entries to catch up on. Too much work. Plus, need to add a couple more for today after wandering Wekiva this morning.

Red-headed Woodpeckers and Pine Warblers were fun, as was a group of 6 Tom Turkeys wandering the lakeside.

Take care,