Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I was out with a class of 2nd graders today at the sanctuary where I teach, and we saw a hawk fly through the trees and land fairly close to where we were. Children of that age cannot stay quiet, at least in groups, for long, but this bird did not seem to mind. I think its thoughts were on the next meal, and we were neither good for a meal nor causing it distress, so it pretty much ignored us. I am thinking it was probably a juvenile Cooper's hawk, though it could have been a sharp-shinned hawk. There is a significant amount of difficulty in distinguishing between the two, even for experienced birders, which I am not. Birds seldom sit just so in perfect light and turn slowly so you can get a good look at them from all sides, nor will they fly slowly so you can see their flight forms and patterns. As well, I was teaching, so I could not spend as much time as I otherwise might have to study field marks. And of course I did not have my camera - though in other circumstances I could have used it had I had it with me - the bird stayed perched for quite a long time, even after our group had moved on. The kids certainly seemed interested in looking at the bird, and maybe my excitement at seeing it rubbed off on one or two of them, and he or she (or they) will keep looking for more birds.