Population and Clean Up Control

Taking Their Job Seriously

Our garden is still covered with snow, not the fluffy stuff but the cement-like snow resulting from melting and freezing again.  The neighborhood birds are having a tough time finding food so our garden has become a gathering place for many of them.  With eight feeders and two heated birdbaths spread around in the garden, the air traffic is congested enough to give an FAA controller fits.

Even a Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) came around try to claim a left over rabbit.  I found part of a rabbit when checking up on the bee hives the other day.  I suspect a fox because part of the carcass had been dragged in the snow in the direction of our neighbor’s garden.

Eagles and hawks will not drag their prey, they just fly off with it.  I know food is hard to come by in a winter like this one so I took what was left of the rabbit and left it under a tree where it could be seen from above.  It wasn’t long before a Turkey Vulture came around to investigate, then a crow.  Not much left of the rabbit now, just some fur.  Clean up accomplished.

Once or twice a day hawks would come by to raid the fresh food flying about.  As far as I know we have Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) and Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus) frequenting the neighborhood.  The Cooper’s Hawk seems to care less about my presence.  Maybe because he grew up here, the one that allowed me to get within a couple of feet of him when he was young and liked to hang out on the patio woodpile.

He came last Sunday, nabbed a Junco and polished him off right there while I snapped his photo.  As much as I feel bad for his prey, I’d rather have nature take her own course, so I won’t chase the predators off. They need to be able to do their job in a natural way.

Turkey Vulture waiting to come down for his rabbit
Turkey Vulture waiting to come down for his rabbit
Cooper's Hawk taking a Junco apart
Cooper’s Hawk taking a Junco apart
Puffing up after meal
Puffing up after meal

View more of this Cooper’s Hawk at AMAZINGSEASONS

4 thoughts on “Population and Clean Up Control

  1. Great pictures. Amazing the hawk ignored you and the camera. I’ve seen two hawks around my garden recently but didn’t see if and what it might have found for dinner.

    Hope your snow disappears quickly.

    1. I think he’s used to me being in the garden and causing him no harm, just another big deer walking around. It’s nice to see the birds of prey population increasing around here, we have even seen Bald Eagles by our nearby reservoir.

      We still have a lot of snow on the ground and it’s still below 20 degrees tonight. It was 12 degrees this morning as we headed to work.

    1. The birds serenade us from before dawn until dusk, even in summer when we reduce the feeders down to one. I also depend on them to do pest control in the garden as I don’t use any pesticide. Looking after them in winter is the least I can do for them. It’s a great feeling to see them building their nests, bringing up a new generation and continuing to come back year after year.

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