The amaryllis season came abruptly to an end several nights ago when a group of deer paid a visit to my front yard. They ravaged the last stalk of red amaryllis blooms, leaving the blooms to wilt on the pavement and a small munched on stalk. A coreopsis was uprooted and partially consumed. A begonia was completely obliterated – it must have been very tasty. And, a hibiscus was considerably shorter then next morning.
I live between the undeveloped property surrounding a major international airport and a 976 acre park that teems with all kinds of wildlife, including deer. Lots of deer.
In addition to possums that play dead and are really dead, I have frequent visits from armadillos, racoons (that bring their treasures scavenged from other yards into mine), and a skunk that frequents my garage. The first time I encountered the skunk I thought it was a large black cat that sometimes comes down to harass my cat. I was about to run it out of the garage when I realized that the “cat” had a white stripe down its back! Retreat inside!
Several weeks ago I noticed a hawk coming and going from one of the very large native oak trees in my front yard. It took a little looking and moving around at different viewing angles, but I saw a very large nest high in the branches and suspected that they were nesting. In recent days there has been considerable going to and from, confirming my suspicions.
It is hard to photograph the nest and the birds because of the angle of the nest. I’ve zoomed in as far as I could and cropped, so this picture is the best I have for now. I think it is a red-tail hawk, but am not definitely sure. They move so swiftly that I haven’t been able to get a picture of one in mid-air, but they are unbelievable with their very large wingspan. I enjoy seeing them sail effortlessly through the air; they really are beautiful.
One of my dachshunds has always been my hawk-alert dog. He lets me know when one is anywhere near the back yard and he’s been keeping busy with these two. Yesterday, though, the birds fooled us twice. In the early morning I was sitting on the deck enjoying the early morning time and drinking coffee when one flew by – maybe 12-15 feet from where I was sitting – and just cleared the 6 foot privacy fence. Gave me a start and I was glad that all the dogs were on the deck and close to me. Last night, I was enjoying a little evening time on the deck when a movement in one of the trees caught my eye; the hawk had extended its wings and moved down a branch. I stood up to come inside to get the camera and it flew away. I don’t know how long it might have been sitting there watching me and the dogs! Neither time Bentley noticed it.
In doing some research it appears that red-tail hawks will consume small to medium size mammals. My dogs fall into that category weighing 11-16 pounds, so I’ve got my eye on the sky. I also have a small, older cat that I’m hoping stays close to home. Although, heaven help the bird if it decide to swoop into the yard. These tenacious little dogs would definitely be on it and fighting it.
Ah, life in the city.