GL 251 Red tailed Hawk

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 251

Well, we finally had a week of winter all at the same time and even got the snowmobilers out and about until they wore it down to dirt on most of the trails. Many folks to the south of us in the Capitol District got ice at the end of the snowstorm which took down many power lines putting many out of power for a couple of days and some longer. In most places the temperature got into the single digits and didn’t get above freezing during the daylight hours. Ice was out of many of the lakes and with these cold temperatures along with the snow that cooled down the surface water temperatures they all refroze. As of today, most are still covered with ice and the only open water is in the Moose River and the channel in Inlet where lots of the waterfowl moved to find food. I had a Belted Kingfisher over my frozen pond just before the storm and he wasn’t going to catch any fish there. I did find some Mallards in the beaver ponds on the outlet of Eighth Lake. 

With that warm spell many songbirds started moving north and this snow and cold temperatures are going to be tough on them. I’ve had several on my feeders trying to compete with the Turkeys who keep coming out the woods from somewhere for a total of thirty-two. Some had started to strut even during these cold mornings. Six jakes (first year males) were all puffed up together under the feeders this morning. There was a big tom out on the ski trail, but he stayed away with all those other males who would have been fighting him for sure. I once had three jakes eating here most of the winter in the driveway. One morning while they were here a big tom came down the driveway and gave them a challenge display and they all jumped on him from all sides, and he beat feet back up the driveway in defeat with the three jakes in pursuit. 

I went downtown on 3/21 when it was just above zero and we had six new inches of snow. There was a flock of sixteen American Robins working the berries that were left on the Mountain Ash in Arrowhead Park. I just got out of the truck to take a photo and out of the sky from somewhere came a Cooper’s Hawk and he flushed all the birds, but he didn’t take chase, probably because I was standing right there. He lit on the telephone line where I got his picture before he flew over the Post Office and up the channel. The Robins moved back in to eat along with three Crows and a couple Slate -colored Juncos. These birds were also eating the little crab apples off the tree in front of Tony Harper’s. They picked it clean but just yesterday I checked, and some Robins, Juncos and Chickadees were still checking out the trees. While there a Snow Bunting flew overhead and landed on the power pole and then disappeared into the pines in the park. 

That freezing morning most of the lakes refroze and Don Andrews was coming across the Old Forge Lakefront at sunrise and there was a flock of Canada Geese out on the pond. He took their picture and he felt that these birds' breast feathers were frozen into the quick-freezing ice. I told him they would make good Bald Eagle food. I never knew if they got out or not. 

I put a big beaver carcass on the dam that morning and it didn’t take long for a Red-shouldered Hawk to find it where he fed for a couple of hours until the mature Bald Eagle came along and took over the carcass. The next day I had a Red-tailed Hawk feeding on the carcass and the Bald Eagle again came by and flushed the hawk. I got a few photos of all of them while they were here. I have a trail camera about ten feet away from the carcass, so I get pictures even when I’m not at home. 

I have taken a few beavers locally, one a super blanket which stretched seventy-four inches, that’s measuring head to tail and across the middle of the hide and add the two to get the total. The beaver weighed sixty pounds which is a big beaver. They were moving a way aways from their lodges during the warm spell and most of the water was open, but they slowed down some with all the ponds frozen again. They will be moving again this week when it rains and opens things up again. 

I think we lost some little birds but that’s another story. See ya. 


Photo above: Red-tailed Hawk