Mission: To promote the appreciation of wildlife and increase harmony between humanity and nature.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

The Easy Life

Imagine you are a bird of prey sitting silently in the early morning sun. Your eyesight is very keen, your hearing does not miss a sound, your wings are broad and strong, your talons are sharp and your tail is adapted to help you fly between the branches of the forest. Best of all your camouflage allows you to hide in plain sight (Did you spot the bird in the photo?) and…

...there are plenty of tasty creatures…

...wandering through your favorite hunting ground. How could life be easier? Certainly this must be...The Easy Life.

Here is a close up (from the first photo) showing this week's candidate for first place in the easy life competition. However before we vote let's take a little closer look into the life of this particular Cooper's Hawk.

First of all sitting just overhead in the same tree is the dark shadow of a crow (with a rather odd shaped beak). The crow is keeping an eye on you but it is not chasing you like it would an eagle or a red-tailed hawk. It is not that a crow never chases a Cooper's Hawk but there is a certain level of respect. The birds are somewhat similar in size and agility and the Cooper's is a much more effective predator so the crow is not so loud and annoying as it is with larger birds.

Closer at hand a much smaller and more agile creature sneaks up behind you. 
(Can you find the second creature?)

Hidden among the cones behind your head the hummingbird watches your every move.

In fact the fearless little bird flies around right in your face as if to say, "Mess with me and you will get an eyeful of hummingbird!"

Still the most irritating creature is the loud, noisy robin that keeps flying from branch to branch and stridently calling to the whole world as if to say, "Look, look a hungry bird of prey is in my tree!" All the while it stays just out of reach. 

However it is not just you that is hungry. In the nearby trees are your three young.

It is true that they are bright, attentive and are learning to hunt. (Did you notice the difference in eye color between the adult and the young bird?)

It is also true that sometimes they just rest in the shade… 

…but most of the time they sit and call for food. It is no wonder that they look nearly perfect. Every feather is shiny and new with no signs of wear to be seen.

Your wrinkled and worn feathers are obvious around your head, so who can blame you if you sometimes shut your eyes to all that surrounds you.

Still at the sound of potential prey you are alert and ready to fly.

Sadly there are still a couple of other challenges that you must deal with. 

First there is the growth on the talon of your right foot. It must get in the way when you go to grab your prey but somehow you have learned to compensate. You and your young are proof of that. 

Finally, without your vote, a new paved bike trail is planned and approved to run right through the middle of your favorite hunting ground in the Arboretum. Maybe your life is not so easy after all.

Note: It might be less expensive and easier for nature if the bikes just used the existing Arboretum Drive which is paved, closed to automobiles and parallel to the planned bike path. Just a thought.

Have a great day on Union Bay…where nature lives in the city! 


Parting Shots:

Near by this bushtit fluttered about the ocean spray. It stopped a moment as if to say...

…"What? You want me to stop and pose in the sunlight!"

"Oh all right! But your better get your photo quick" it seemed to say as it came to rest on a small alder branch.


  1. Yes you are right, there are plenty of bike n hike spots. But oh how greedy we are. We must always have more, we feel it is our right. It is so sad that what we already have is never enough.

  2. I think we can all have "more", e.g. richer lives, by simply looking more closely at what is all around us. :-)