“S” Challenge: Survival

avian banquet
abruptly evacuated
predator shadow

Lately our birdseed feeders have been swarming with more feathered friends, moreso than this past summer.  There could be 30+ finches, chickadees, pine siskins and scrub jays monopolizing the four feeders at any one time, quickly depleting the food.  Then suddenly, it seems like one of the birds sounds an alarm and they disappear in a flash!  Yesterday, we saw why.  As the small birds evacuated, another larger bird flew across all the feeders and perched in a tree just outside our deck near those feeders…it was a stunning sight!

I believe this bird is a prairie falcon.  (Can anyone confirm its identification for me?)  With a length of up to 50 centimeters, their diet consists mainly of smaller birds caught in flight, and small mammals.  Recently, I found one of the feeders covered in fresh blood.  I thought some of the little birds got in a fight, but now I’m wondering if this hunter had anything to do with it.  Anyway, I would flee too, if I were in danger of being eaten!

(Although it has been snowing heavily these past two days, I was glad to be able to get some shots of this activity.)

This is for the letter “S” Story Challenge by Frizztext, to share a short story or reflection, even an aphorism using a word tagged with each letter of the alphabet.

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36 responses to ““S” Challenge: Survival

  1. What a beautiful bird, Fergiemoto…had a similar incident occur when I lived in Phoenix…but didn’t see the bird sitting atop the tree…he was sitting on the yard wall eating one of those smaller birds who had been feeding at the tree….

  2. Lovely images – I think you might be right about that prairie falcon……….and…….snow?? Do you normally have snow at this time of the year?

  3. Excellent bird photos. The snow…makes it all the more beautiful. That falcon’s eyes are following me and my every move as I type. Beautiful, fascinating birds. We find tons of feathers on the ground at times also [with the blood evidence, I’m thinking it was this bird of prey…’cause if it were a cat –they consume everything and only leave a trace of feathers…don’t they?]

    Thanks for linking up this week at the Bird D’Pot!!!

  4. That is stunning. The first photo, a vision of beauty, gentleness, of just having a great time. The second, commands power and yes, caution. One swoop with those sharp claws and we’re gone. Great piece!

  5. I am wondering if it is a Merlin which is a small falcon or “sparrow hawk.” Very distinctive call and quite adaptable to the city. Usually the prairie falcon has a very distinctive “moustache.” but I do not consider myself to be an expert.This would be the female; the male is blueish grey. 28-33cm I just can’t see enough in my books but the feather on the flank are reminiscent of a Prairie falcon.Sigh…wonderful shot, though and lucky to see it in your yard .it may hang out which is good for you but bad for the birds that it preys on.

  6. I agree with janechese that this bird resembles the English Merlin! Even though i’m not a bird expert, there is something compelling about raptors… lovely photos – thanks for visiting.

  7. Pingback: Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for Bloggers #5 - Wildlife - The Winners! | Let's Be Wild

  8. What amazing pictures, Fergiemoto! I especially love the one of the fleeing finches – if that falcon was the treat they suddenly realized then they were wise to get outta there! As beautiful haiku, too! As always – although a late-comer – I so enjoy your multi-talented observations.

  9. This, my friend, appears to be a juvenile COOPER’S HAWK. That also explains the feeder stalking (they are known for such behavior). The field marks indicate a long, banded tail (characteristic of accipiters such as these). Also, the brown plumage, heavy chest streaks, and yellow iris indicate this is a juvenile bird. This is undoubtedly a hawk (falcons will have long pointed wing tips that are the same length or close to the length of the tail). The wing tips are not pointed and are well short of the length of the tail. Also, prairie falcons are not a bird you would find at a feeder; at least I’ve never heard of them coming within range of humans like that. Also, this bird doesn’t have the distinctive malar stripes of a prairie falcon. It really doesn’t look like one at all. (Source: I am an avid birder and especially fond of raptors.)

    • WOW, Thank you SOOOOO much for your detailed information, education and for identifying this bird! I will be paying more attention to these details whenever we see birds of prey in our area. I really appreciate an avid and experienced birder like you stopping by and sharing this information. I guess you could say that I am amateur birder.

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