Scanning the snowy ground around our house today, as I am wont to do every hour or so, in hopes of finding a redpoll or some new visitor, I glanced at a medium-sized, dark bird on the ground and thought, Blue Jay. We have tons of jays and very little else of that size. Then I did a double-take.
No, that was no Blue Jay; too dark. And it was ripping and pulling at something under it. I didn’t need my binoculars to realize it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk. And it was devouring a European Starling.
Good! One less starling in North America. Glad it was not a a redpoll.
It spent a good 45 minutes at this same spot, about two meters from a downstairs window. Sadly the light was terrible and there were always branches in the way.
It showed us every possible perspective as it turned to work on different cuts of meat. This was karmic payback for the number of times we had some terrible view of a distant accipiter and tought, that tail looks rounded… no, square. No, kind of a rounded square…. this time, that tail looked like someone used a t-square to define it.
Eventually the crop was so distended and full of starling meat that the bird looked… deformed.
It finally took off with the starling, into a neighbor’s oak tree. It left the remains there and flew out of sight. Will it come back for them? I cannot imagine that there is much left.
Thank you, Birding Gods, for such an amazing interlude today. I can count the number of sharpies I have seen in my life on one hand. This made up for that!