There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Accipiter striatus

Small hawk
Relatively small head
Long, square-tipped tail
Pencil-thin yellow legs
    Blue-gray upperparts
    Barred, reddish-brown underparts
    Gray and black barred tail,
         with very narrow, white tip
    Dark red eyes
   Brown back and wings
   Brown-streaked underparts
   Thin, white eyestripe
   White underwing with dark brown barring
   Yellow eyes

Listen to its call.

I caught a glimpse of this bird as it flew over Tuesday Pond at Swan Lake last week. I quickly rushed over to the area where I thought it had landed. After walking back and forth along the path a number of times, I finally noticed it sitting silently in a tree watching me. Its ability to be inconspicuous must be useful for hunting but it felt a bit eerie when I was the one in its sights.

Learn more about the Sharp-shinned Hawk.

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