Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
In years past, I've had several different raptors hunting in my yard, from American Kestrels to Sharp-shinned hawks. All of them have been immature; until this winter. This winter I've seen two Adult Cooper's Hawks hunting in my yard. It's pretty amazing to watch the adults hunt after watching so many immature ones. What a difference. The immature ones will often miss their attempt to catch a bird from the feeders and then continue to sit perched for quite some time, waiting for movement, even if the backyard birds are chirping. The young hunter will sit and look around and will often fail at their attempts to catch prey once they are hidden within the bushes.
Adult Cooper's Hawk, hunting in my backyard bush.
On the contrary, the adults I've seen come into my yard will fly around from my vines to the fence to the bushes, quickly determining where the birds are hiding, this is providing he missed his fly by attack at the feeders upon arrival in my yard. The first adult I saw in my yard did this and then proceeded to listen for the direction of the chirping birds and went straight away into the bush, looked around for a minute, fly into the bush and came out with it's prey in his talons. (That's him pictured above, just before catching his prey) He landed on the ground, something the immature birds don't seem as comfortable with. I couldn't see the bird he caught, but I could see the hunter kind of bouncing up and down and adjusting himself under the squirming of the little bird. After several seconds of this, he then proceeded to start plucking out the feathers while the little thing continued to squawk. It wasn't long before all was silent, for which I was grateful. All of this was quite unsettling, but it is nature in it's truest form, as God intended. I'm just glad I'm not privy to the behavior of wild animals on a regular basis. It's certainly not a pretty sight. I have pictures of what I described here, but am not posting them here. I'm so glad God provides food for all the animals, I just wish there was a less barbaric way of doing so. He knows best, though. I suppose the world would be taken over by all of the animals if there were no natural way of weeding some out.
Adult Cooper's Hawk on my backyard vines.
I guess I could feel bad that by providing food in my feeders for the sparrows, finches, etc...I am in a sense also feeding these raptors. I don't though, because I know that if humans didn't put feeders out, God would still provide food for the birds; seeds, fruit, and yes, even other birds, insects and animals. Feeders make it easier for birds to find sustenance in the winter and bring them in closer for me to observe and appreciate, as well as marvel at their Creator. Happy Birding!
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