Whew, walking around those European developments can be tiring. So let’s return to Ottawa for a day, to enjoy the bright winter days, the pretty snow on the ground, and the birds at the bird feeder outside my window.
La de dah de dah.
Oh oh. Look who came for breakfast. Hawk is enjoying a junco, about 3′ outside my window:
Today this was takeout. After subduing his prey, the falcon / hawk flew away with it.
But returned a half hour later, and got a grackle. This was a bit more distressing, the it took about a half hour to subdue the grackle, which emitted distress calls and flapped its wings while pinned upside down:
(the Eiffel Tower is a ginger cookie and sugar candy creation made when the kids were home for Christmas. I consider it homecoming therapy. I put it outside to support squirrel dentistry).
The black squirrel in the foreground seemed oblivious to the hawk as it eats spilled bird seed. The gray squirrel in the background came down the tree trunk, froze when it saw the hawk which eyed it right back, then comically backed up to the tree and climbed it in reverse, never taking its eyes off the predator. I don’t recall seeing squirrels climb trees backwards and upside down.
Another day, another lunch. Grackle again. You can see the remains of the previous day’s meal lightly buried under the snow:
I think this was another grackle-meal. The hawk spent about an hour plucking feathers and eating.
The black spots are bits of feathers and down blowing across the snow:
For the last few days, no birds have come to my feeders. Just squirrels. And damn, just when I had gone out and got two giant bags of bird seed …
This is the first year I have seen the hawk regularly attack birds at my feeder. Last year, it was here at least once and hunted a sparrow that took refuge in the Christmas tree I picked up curbside and propped up against a trellis for temporary winter cover.
And it (or its predecessor) was a regular visitor a few years back, but always bringing in a pigeon to eat in the relative safety of my enclosed back yard.
Here are those stories and some more pictures:
In retrospect, it amazes me how much wildlife one can see over the years right in downtown Ottawa.
There is a giant white owl that hunts along the Trillium OTrain pathway at night; I spotted him only once in my yard where it got a vole.
Last summer I had a cormorant move in for a few days:
There are Merlins year round, and the Chimney Swifts return every year to the Dominican Priory chimney on Empress Street. Every few years a red fox on the Flats, sometimes a beaver in the aqueduct on the Flats, and a few years ago a lost Elk (that didn’t turn out well… )
Does anyone prefer we go back to Denmark and go for a walk??
Good. Coming next: Nordhavn. A much better new urban development.