On Valentine's Day 2016, many temperature records were broken. In South Salem we were below zero and wind chills even lower. These two red-shouldered hawks took roost in a tree about 50 yards from my studio window. Handheld their capture through a window pane and screen. One said to the other: What the heck are we doing out here in this subzero weather?! The second one replied: Just puff up your feathers and you won't feel the cold! Not sure this was working since in about two minutes, both took off for a warmer, more hospitable place. Probably their home next door.
These two hawks are pretty familiar to us. They live next door, in a big tree next to my neighbor's house. Now I'm not sure whether these two birds are the parents or perhaps one or two of the offspring. Families of red-shouldered hawks have raised their young there every Spring for a number of years in the same nest, in the same tree. These hawks are known to be monogamous and can live as long as 20 years.
We feel a little ambivalent sometimes, watching these creatures play out their roles in Nature's ongoing drama. We have a bird feeder in the backyard, a very busy one all through the year. When the hawks fly over or roost nearby it's amazing how quickly the bird feeder becomes deserted. Haven't seen any prey interactions as yet and have made a few requests of the hawks to forage elsewhere. But you do wind up asking yourself: how do you root for one creature over another in Nature's theater of survival?