Archive for Nature

Seasonal Solitude: On Observation of the Cooper’s Hawk

ON OBSERVATIONS OF A COOPER’S HAWK IN NASHVILLE

Inspired by reading Walt Whitman and William Wordsworth in an hour of peaceful solitude… in downtown Chicago… in winter.
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When the weather was neither hot nor cold;

When in our at that time unmanicured back yard… that quiet back forty

Where we have wildlife and birds that come and go with the seasons;

There chanced oneo day when I was strolling

Out in that back forty plainly loafing

And thinking of nothing in particular, with mind wandering,

There came into my vision from the left, over the low tree and bush level

A gray gliding form, a spectacular bird,

And perched it upon a tree trunk

Sheared of many of its limbs due to this and that condition but left

For the birds to use and in this case

That majestic nearly mature Cooper’s Hawk certainly did.

It swooped silently in and landed in the top third of the trunk where some sturdy limbs remained;

And in silence I watched to see what it would do.

All details of the bird were plainly visible, so close it was to me;

Its beak, eyes, coloring and stripes, its mottling and size… a female most likely and on the hunt.

For as later observations proved, there were plenty of fat mourning doves in that part of our yard,

That chanced to gather near the back door.

But the many times the hawk came round, it followed a particular pattern as it circled the yard.

It would go to the same trees at about the same height, and thus had a splendid view

Of our yard and the surrounding yards as well, to spot its evening meal.

I silently tracked it as it branch – hopped, going to the perimeter, the front, the other side and then back to its starting place.

Then after a time it would fly away, heading south at almost the same angle and height and over the same yard.

Naturally the doves began to disappear; the hawk probably had a family somewhere around the neighborhood.

How majestic and beautiful a sight;

To commune in peace with this wild, silent, graceful creature

In peace and solitude in our backyard.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

** I have since thought that since we get so many different types of birds and wildlife, some migratory birds as well, that our yard might be part of a flyway or passing point for animals such as red foxes, Cape May Warblers, some species of owls such as the Screech and the Barred, the Cedar Waxwing, the Black and White Warbler, the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, and some species of Kinglet and Tanager. We have a wealth of nature’s offerings, and it is marvelous to see and be around them. **

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Nashville Nature: Naturally Every Day

Dateline Nashville, Tennessee: Featuring a fine listing of the good things that are natural in Nashville.

White-breasted Nuthatch in Algonquin Provincia...

White-breasted Nuthatch in Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada. This image is not upside-down. Français : Sittelle à poitrine blanche dans le parc provincial Algonquin, dans l’Ontario. Cette image est à l’endroit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just in our yard alone, for bird species we have had the following birds of prey: Peregrine Falcon, Northern Goshawk,
Cooper’s Hawk, Screech Owl, Great Horned Owl,  Red-tailed Hawk, and Barred Owl.

We have seen the following smaller birds that love to hang out in the berry-bearing shrubs, trees, and plants: Cedar Waxwing,
Black and White Warbler, Cape May Warbler,  Black-Capped Chickadee, Titmouse, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.Our usual visitors include the American Robin, Blue Jay, Cardinal, American Crow. We have also been visited by the Pileated Woodpecker, “Yellow-shafted” Flicker, Downy Woodpecker, Brown Thrasher, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,  Mourning Dove, White-throated Sparrow, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the House Finch, Common Grackle, Dark-eyed JuncoRuby-crowned Kinglet,  Great Crested Flycatcher, and the White-breasted Nuthatch.

The loud songs of the Carolina Wren and the movements of the House Wren; the odd call of the Common Nighthawk, the stunning colors and calls of the American Goldfinch, the melodious trilling of the elusive Wood Thrush, and the call to tea of the Rufus-sided (Eastern) Towhee have also graced our landscape.

Unusual visitors include the Great Blue Heron, which one day landed on our roof. There have been possible sightings of Summer Tanager, Prothonotary Warbler, and American Redstart. Also a possible hearing of the call of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker- the sound described is so distinctive and it was in the Woodmont- Hillsboro area of Nashville. The call sounds like a toy trumpet, a high-pitched nasal yank, like a loud version of the eastern White-breasted Nuthatch, and that is exactly the sound I detected. A single note but very loud and close by one day many years ago. There are many tall, old trees in the area so it is a fine place for a large woodpecker to reside and find food. One sighting of Whooping Crane; possible sighting of Ivory Gull and also a Little Blue Heron. In the area are reports of other hummingbird species off course every so often (birds that probably should be at that time in California or other places west of Tennessee turn up in middle Tennessee!).

In the Nashville area, aside from the usual city birds of Mockingbird, European Starling, Pigeon (European Rock Dove), Turkey Vulture, Catbird and Canada Geese, you can also see the Green Herons (a family of them hung out in a tree in Centennial Park one year), the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron (with their magnificent plumage), Kingfishers, Rough-legged Hawk, and the American Kestrel. You also see the Red-winged Blackbird, Ovenbird, Eastern Bluebird, Barn Swallow, Killdeer, American Coot, Merlin, Broad-winged Hawk, Northern Harrier, and Mallard Duck.

Also seen are coyotes, deer, red foxes, and raccoons. We also have an abundance of dragonflies. Species you might find in the Nashville area include the Gray Petaltail, the Common Green Darner, Comet Darner, Swamp Darner and Fawn Darner. You might also see the Shadow Darner, Ashy Clubtail, Cobra Clubtail, Eastern Ringtail, and the stunning Royal River Cruiser. Possibilities include as well the Widow Skimmer, the Twelve-spotted Skimmer, and the strikingly colored Spangled Skimmer and Eastern Amberwing.

English: Common Green Darner (Anax junius), bl...

English: Common Green Darner (Anax junius), blue form female, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yellow-crowned Night Heron flying over water.

Yellow-crowned Night Heron flying over water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isn’t nature wonderful? Let’s all work together to keep our environment safe, clean, healthy, good and beautiful!

English: A female ruby-throated hummingbird (A...

English: A female ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) sipping nectar from scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma). Français : Un Colibri à gorge rubis (Archilochus colubris) femelle butinant une fleur de Monarde (Monarda didyma). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

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