Hawk vs. Mockingbird
After getting a few photos of her I crawled through the thick underbrush that skirted the base of the tree and was able to position myself below the branch the hawk was perched. This permitted me the opportunity for photos of the underside of the tail feathers of the prey bird, which I knew would help with its identity. It was a surreal sight- the tail bobbing up and down with each tug of the hawk’s hooked beak. At that moment I felt sympathy for the bird it had captured, but at the same time I was amazed at the power and grace of the accipiter as it fed.
I lay there quietly beneath the raptor as feathers continued to rain down around me. I collecting several of them that I knew would also aid with identification.
I eventually left the hawk to its feeding and returned about two hours later to find it was still perched it the same spot with what remained of its prey in its talons. It sat quietly looking directly at me, still without a care that I was so close.
I went to a website I came across awhile back produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called “The Feather Atlas” and laid out all of the feathers I collected and began searching the image database. It wasn’t long before I came across the answer I was looking for. What I had collected was several tail feathers and a couple primary wing feathers of a Northern Mockingbird. The next day I returned to the kill site in hopes of finding more remains, such as the wings or a head, but found nothing. More than likely she may have taken what was left of the mocker’s carcass to another area to finish.
Other hawk blog posts: (1) (2) (3)