Is this a Sharp-shinned Hawk? It sat in the apple tree for awhile recently, came to startle the usual birds, the Stellar Bluejay and the Robins reappearing again now that it's spring. Hanging out by the dripping water, there have also been a few Kinglets and the Lesser Goldfinch. There are no bird feeders close by, but the water attracts the song birds. It makes sense that the Sharp-shinned Hawk and other birds of prey come looking round the water source for some small treats to eat. It's fortunate that there are trees in and among the landscape of yards in the city for all the birds to use. Life in the menagerie.
The body of the Sharp-shinned Hawk is especially shaped to hunting and catching prey in close quarters, inside and between trees. According to Wikipedia, their numbers greatly dwindled during the late 1960s and 1970s, most likely due to the accumulative effects of the widespread use of poisons such as DDT. After DDT was banned, numbers of all three species have come back strongly in the United States and Canada, back to the point where, if the right habitat still exists or is renewed, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is expected to re-localize and re-integrate.
This particular bird had the habit of perching with only its right claw. It's left claw was kept tucked away, used occasionally to fuss with feathers. It sat in this spot for almost five minutes.
Along with news of social trends moving toward small things -- from sporty fuel efficient autos to recycled lumber and tiny houses, comes a story from Los Angeles about a group of neighbors in one of the super super rich canyon areas of L. A. banding together to try to stop a new mystery neighbor -- they suspect perhaps a foreign prince -- from building a residential compound the size of a Wal-Mart: 86,000 sq feet across several adjacent lots. The lots themselves are worth millions each. There will be a 42,681-square-foot house, a 27,000-square-foot villa, a guest house somewhere around 4,000 sq feet. It's as if Reno's new American Gothic mansions and Tuscany styled villas have suddenly become appropriate only for weekend guests. If it's inevitable that a superstore sized residential compound be built in the already compacted hills around L. A., the hope would be that the landscaping plans accommodate birds like the Sharp-shinned Hawk and California's amazing song birds.