Thursday, March 20, 2008

Predator vs. Prey

We had the privileged of photographing from Jean's backyard today and I learned that Jean helps more than just eagles through the cold winter. She also feeds an enormous flock of Grey-crowned Rosy-finch. These tiny birds swarm together and are very skiddish. One false move can send the entire flock into a panicked flight. I watched them soar through the sky as the eagles ignored them. They poured over the roof and descended on the feeders full of sunflower seeds as if they were one large organism.

Then, seemingly from nowhere, a large blur appeared in their midst and the flock disbursed, scattering it's members left and right. I didn't think any bird could be faster than these tiny little finch but I was wrong. A Sharp-shinned Hawk had found the flock and was determined to make a meal of at least one of these finches. It happened so quickly that I can't be sure if the hawk was successful or not. A local passing by said he had not seen a hawk out on the spit in the 8 years that he had lived there.

When compared to the eagles he seemed so tiny and yet, he was just as fierce a hunter as the eagles. I feel very lucky to have seen this hawk let alone to have the pictures to prove it.

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