Dicromantispa interrupta

Dicromantispa interrupta

Friday, June 13, 2008

Can an owl carry a grudge?

I have often seen songbird nestlings sitting on the ground or in low shrubs, having fallen out of their nest but still being raised by their parents. I leave them alone, as their parents know more than me about rearing their young. In Suburbia, such chicks are often taken at night by neighborhood predators such as cats, dogs, opossums and raccoons. I live in Suburbia.

Today I found an immature red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus) on a levee that runs out into Orange Lake. It was sitting in the grass under a small Chinese elm sapling (Ulmus parvifolia) beside an unoccupied RV. I ran back to my RV for the camera. This was much better than a cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) or blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) waif!

When approached, the bird at first hunkered down, head lower than its tail, possibly trying to remain inconspicuous in the hope that I had not yet seen it. I approached very slowly, and it then raised its shoulder feathers as if trying to look larger and more fearsome.

After I took a few photos, I guess it realized it wasn't in immediate danger, and perked up a bit and I was able to get some better pics. I hope it's there tomorrow morning but, as I have written before, there are barred owls (Strix varia) and great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) in these woods. The red-shouldered hawks hassle the great horned owl every chance they get. Hmmm, can a great horned owl carry a grudge?

I went back a little later and found it under Roger and Jean's RV, with its head tucked firmly under its wings.

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