Friday, February 20, 2009

What A Hawk Wants

Here's the hawk.

Here's what he found. Cleverly camouflaged bits of bird flesh flitting and twittering from twig to twig.

Close cover and cryptic coloration caused raptorial consternation.

Now this is more like it. A juicy target out in the open.
This is what the hawk wants.
Heh, ... it's what I want too.

Prime warbler photography habitat. This is the type of roadside brush that is just alive with warblers during the winter. Usually, I just stop, psshhhhht, psshhhhhhht, a few times to get their attention, and then sit quietly for a moment.
If you pssshhhhhhhhttttt it, they will come.
What exactly is that sound saying to these birds?
Am I being rude and they are coming to scold me?
Is it an alarm sound of some cranky species that everybody else responds too?
Does it translate into, "Free birdseed and bug larvae, come and get it!"
If I were guessing, and I am as I am not much of a birder, I would suggest it sounds alot like a ticked off Carolina wren.
So weigh in, oh avianaficianado types.


threecollie said...

What is that middle bird? Cool looking and nice hawk shot.
I always wonder why they come when you pssshhh and am grateful that I learned from Tom at Mon@rch how to do it. Kind of how to win friends and influence birds.

Ark Patti said...

I used to enjoy feeding the squirrels in Florida. They are amazing athletes. One day a really fat (from my corn) fellow was in the tree tops just a chattering away. I had him in my binoculars when a hawk nailed him. There was no sound, he was just gone. Love hawks, just hate to watch them dine. Like your version much better FC.
Thanks threecollie for Mon@rch site. Really cool.

Dr. Know said...

They are just curious to see what the weird humans are psshhhhhhht at. Wouldn't you?

CHEF TROLL said...

Nice shots. I have some sort of tiny bird in my tree that attacks and bewilders large hawks with his superior aerobatics. Guess he's protecting the nest?

No idea what kind of tiny bird it is but it's fun to watch.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Somehow I knew I'd see "red" at the end of this post!!!

Deb said...

Maybe the birds are a bit "pishhed off" by the annoying noise? ;)

I got to see the power of attracting birds with recorded calls in action last weekend. The recording was of black capped chickadees mobbing a screech owl, and it brought out possibly the most agitated chickadee I've ever seen.

Dani said...

I'm not sure, but I bet Zick can tell us.

Dan said...

Very fine photos!

Nancy Ortiz said...

When a baby birder in CA, I was told by my teachers that the "PSHHHHSST" was a Wren getting totally pshhhhhssssst off, just as Miss Deb surmised. I saw only one wren the whole time I lived in CA and it weren't no Carolina bird, fer shur. House, I guess. Now, up here in Thomas County, I have many Carolina W. neighbors who are mad all the time at practically everything. Yep, they're definitely pshhhhhssssst off a whole lot. But, other birds just ignore pishing. Go figure. Anyone have any similar experience?

amarkonmywall said...

I admit it- I read this post, got to the final question and though, "what the heck is he talking about? Snake, owl, snake, owl..." I've listened to a lot of Carolina wrens and it never struck me that they were discussing either. Maybe you had to be there with you, FC.

amarkonmywall said...

thought, not though. I can spell.

Floridacracker said...

The little guys in the bush are the same bird. An LGB warbler.

Ark Patti,
I paint little bullseyes on my squirrels to make it easier for the hawks.
Garden raiding tree rats.

That may be it. O's razor.

Like WWII fighters after a bigger bomber.

And isn't she pretty.

High tech birding.

Thank you.

That's my guess too. Very wrenny to me.
Whatever it is, it works.

... as in an ALARM announcing either predator.

MyamuhNative said...

FC, methinks that the bird in the bush is not a warbler but a blue headed vireo.

Anonymous said...

Hi, had to stop by as I am
interested in anything Florida.
I am a little confused-- what is
an LGB warbler? Actually, I
thought the two hidden birds were
White-eyed Vireos while the bird
out in the open was a Yellow-
rumped Warbler. Nice shots, esp.
the Red-shouldered Hawk.
Hap in New Hope (MN)

Heather said...

My understanding of "pishing" is that it's imitating alarm calls, and that's what gets them moving around. I've read that you shouldn't actually do it too much since you don't want them getting distressed. (I'm not sure how much qualifies as "too much" though.)