Skip to main content

Graphic Warning: A backyard bird feeder feeds all sorts of birds.

The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place for the community to note any observations they have made of the world around them. Insects, weather, climate, birds and flowers are worthy additions to the bucket. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located in the comments. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unfolding around us.
Gooseville, WI

Often, I find it hard to gather words to describe the small happenings in my backyard. I offer no apology for this diary or for my love of all the birds that make an austere living in season, especially in the bleakness of a harsh winter.

IMG_9694
Red-bellied Woodpecker (female) Melanerpes carolinus

The sharp-shinned hawk swept in fast from the east, banked steeply through the thick boughs of the spruce tree and landed on top of the bird feeder.

Sharp alarms were screamed as the seed and suet eaters exploded in all directions. In panic and confusion, a large male red-bellied woodpecker slammed into the glass patio door with a sickening thud and fluttered onto the deck.

Sharp-shinned hawk with red-bellied woodpecker

The sharpie pounced on the stunned woodpecker and struggled to drag it off the deck in small shuffled hops. The hawk was a small male not much bigger than the red-bellied.

The struggle

'eee-eee-eee-eeeeee-eee-eeeee' The screams from the woodpecker were piercing and heart wrenching, but there was nothing I could or would do to interfere.

life and death

The woodpecker fought to peck the eyes of the hawk with twisting and turning thrusts. Snow and feathers flew as they struggled together.

the plucking begins

His sharp talons held firm and the hawk began furiously plucking neck and back feathers as they continued to wrestle in circles.

winter hunger

The struggle went on for another ten minutes before the woodpecker fell silent and still. I was able to breathe again, relieved it was over.

the screaming stops
winter survival
renewal of life
the pluckings
the feast begins
harsh realities
IMG_0678

The small sharpie was ravenously hungry. He remained on the ground hastily devouring his feast for another thirty minutes. He carried the carcass away when he left. Nothing remained except a scattering of black and white and red feathers drifting across the snow on the wind.

Backyard bird feeders feed all sorts of birds. I was glad that the sharpie gained a much needed meal. I was saddened that one of my beautiful red-bellied woodpeckers perished so traumatically. So goes life in our backyards.

What's happening in your neck of the woods? This bucket is now open for observations and discussion.

 

...


"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!



"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page.  

Originally posted to Backyard Science on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 06:31 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, Birds and Birdwatching, and Shutterbugs.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site