Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

It's Hawk Time!

And I'm so glad my computer is fixed.  We've been recovering from a hard drive failure but meanwhile, I've been indulging in one of my favorite pastimes: birdwatching while driving.  Not recommended for amateurs or city-dwellers.

Sharp eyes, strong feet.
This is a great time of year for birdwatching in general around here.  We live at the juncture of the great Central and Mississippi Migration Flyways, and there's no better opportunity to witness the great fall migration, beginning as early as July and lasting through the end of November.  Many birds are returning to their winter homes in Texas just as the trees lose their foliage, making it even easier to spot these avian visitors. 

18-25" tall, with a 48" wingspan
You can visit the Smith Point Hawkwatch and climb their 30-foot observation tower, or you can just keep your eyes open around home.  I see so many hawks that I should really drive around with my camera in my lap!  I'm just as pleased when I get a good look at a common local hawk and I am when I see something a bit more unusual. 

Eats mainly small rodents
I particularly like hawks because I don't actually see all that well.  It's hard for me to distinguish among our many tiny brownish birds!  But a hawk's profile is so distinctive and they're usually larger birds.  They have a characteristic body type, flight pattern and behavior, so even if I can't see them that well, I usually know what I'm looking at.

Generally mates for life.
And it really helps to have the camera, too!  Then I can look at the pictures later, at my leisure, with my books, to try to figure out if its a Red-Tailed Hawk or a Red-Shouldered Hawk.  I'm forever getting them mixed up.  For the record, I'm going to go with Red-Tailed Hawk here.  Now I'm waiting for a good Caracara photo opportunity!



  1. They are so beautiful and graceful, and sooo authoritative! Was this one at the land?

  2. I had one strike a dove into my kitchen window last week I ran over and looked out in time to see it swoop down and grab it off of the driveway, then lumber up into the air over my garage. I went out and searched for it in the trees behind our houses for quite a while - never found it...I think it's beyond cool to have one of these birds using our backyards as hunting territory! No small dogs for this neighborhood :)

  3. Our next-door neighbor has had feeders for years, so we have tons of sparrows, doves, etc. around. We have had Cooper's hawks come for a snack and every so often see the feathers on the ground to prove it!

    Early this year a pair of red-tailed hawks nested on a tall electrical tower about a block away near the Meadows Place Park. They hatched three little ones, and we went down to the park frequently with my son's spotting scope to check on the family. It was great watching them grow and fledge and fly.
    Linda R.

  4. I really liked the goodbye image. I can never get a bird in flight without a tripod, and I never seem to have it with me.