My sister, Allison, was visited this morning by an immature male Northern Goshawk. She first spotted it in her yard where it had a still squirming pigeon on the ground. It then flew off under some white pines and stripped the feathers off, then took the carcass under some spruce trees to eat. The final eating place was about 20 -30 feet from her living room window, where she was putting up new curtain rods. So that project came to a halt, concerned her activity would scare it off. She called me and I helped her identify it as a Goshawk, not a Cooper’s Hawk, and by various size comparisons she’s sure it’s a male, not a female. She finally got a good look at the eye stripe, present in the adult and immature, so that clinched it.
I convinced her to risk going outside with her good camera and telephoto to get some pictures. He flew off with the remains about 5 minutes after she took the attached shots. These photos were taken through the rain, with no flash (for fear of scaring him, given she was so close), and the bird was under the darker cover of brush. Not bad, considering all that!
Photographer is Allison Jones, owner of Applegarth Farm and Pottery, Maryland, NY.
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Why Birds Matter...
Birds are important because of the role they play in the natural world as pollinators and seed disbursers, assisting with the balance of nature by eating insects. They also clean up things that would go unattended otherwise.
Birds are important TO ME because of the kinship that I feel with another living species, and the joy that they bring to me year around. Encountering spring migrants feels brand new every time! I feel responsibility for their well-being and take care not to disturb their nesting with unnecessary sounds, disturbance or habitat destruction. I respect the incredible work they do to bring about future generations.
Becky GrettonDOAS Co-President
Birds have always been an early warning system for our environment–the “canary in the coal mine.” It was the decline in bird species high on the food chain that tipped us off to the dangers of DDT and other chemicals. More recently, high altitude and high latitude birds are demonstrating the first definitive effects of global change. If science had been more advanced in the 1800s, the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon could have served as a warning about habitat destruction. This not just about protecting the birds–although that is a worthy goal–but all of these threats will ultimately reach the human race.
Andy MasonDOAS Co-President
In addition to being indicators for environmental health, birds matter because they allow people all over the world to enjoy and appreciate nature. Caring about birds often leads to caring about their habitats and creates a stewardship ethic to protect our natural resources. Birds connect communities.