Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life and death struggles




Although I'm not a big fan of winter and its bitter coldness, 
there is one thing I do like about it.
Tree limbs that are bare,
allowing me such better views of all my feathered friends.


This winter, I added a different feeder which has been quite popular.
Of course, any feeder with food in it is popular.
Who am I kidding?

The nuthatches and chickadees love it and work hard finding just the right sunflower seed and fly off to crack the seed open on a nearby branch, and then back for more.  
They must do this hundreds of times throughout the day.

Among all my feathered friends, though, the red-bellied woodpecker is my favorite.
A male and female feed daily.


Always searching for the peanuts.  
They seem to like those best.



Of course, with so many feeders and birds,
a Cooper's Hawk frequently checks out my backyard.
Occasionally, he gets lucky.
But today, 
he did not.


Sitting at my desk, I suddenly heard loud screeching sounds and the sudden upflight of birds from my feeders.  I looked out and saw that the Cooper's Hawk had my female red-bellied woodpecker down on the ground.  The woodpecker was fighting furiously.  I jumped up and ran outside, clapping and yelling at the hawk.  He tried to fly with the woodpecker still in his clutches but could not gain any altitude.  I chased him and came within five feet before he let go of the woodpecker and they both flew up into nearby trees.

I'm sure the hawk was not pleased with his lost meal.  I stood under the tree where the woodpecker flew up into.  Although I couldn't see her, she called out to her partner who was in another tree across the yard.  They each took turns calling back and forth to each other.

I hope she survives.  But then, those hawk talons are pretty huge.  Neither woodpecker came back to visit today.  I hope I see them tomorrow.  And as for the hawk?  I'm sure it was a needed meal. Guess I would never make a good wild kingdom photographer ... I'd always be trying to save the hunted victims!

: : :

On another note, I would like to thank all of you
for your comments on my mother's passing.
She was 76 years young.
Gone ... too suddenly.
Being diagnosed with cancer.
6 weeks ago.
If you smoke.
Stop.
Today.
This moment.
If not for you,
then for those who love you.

~ ~ ~


51 comments:

Rohrerbot said...

So sorry about your Mother. Maybe the Woodpecker triggered something in you to help her out.

I agree....smoking is a terrible thing. I tell my Dad to stop all the time....but there comes a point now that I don't say anything. Wishing you have a better day today.

Florida Farm Girl said...

I don't know if I could stand by and watch a hawk take one of my birdies, at least up close. I know all God's chilluns gotta eat, but its hard. Hope you're doing okay.

Hartwood Roses said...

Reena, sweetheart, I am so sorry about your mother. I am sending you a hug ... I hope you get it.

Your bird photos are always so special.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...it shows your heart though....it is a wonderful looking hawk...but poor woodpecker...cool shots of meal time as well...

Sylvia K said...

It is indeed a wonderful looking hawk, but I would have done the same thing -- poor woodpecker!! Terrific captures for the day, Reena, the birds are SO colorful and beautiful! I hold you in my thoughts, I was never a heavy smoker, but I gave it up years ago, I did/do owe that to my four children as well as myself. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Marilyn said...

Reena, I've missed your birds. I would "kill" for birds like these in my yard. I still do enjoy my house finches and wrens though.....and my gold finches. I too have hawks that do fly-bys. One actually caught a little bird in flight from the feeder. Oh dear, I don't like that, but nature doesn't really ask my opinion.
Anyway, dear, nice to see your birds again.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, my. you did not have much time to adjust to your mother's diagnosis before her passing. i am sorry...

i do hope the woodpecker makes it since it couldn't serve as a meal. would be a shame to pass w/o a purpose now.

Kathy said...

We have two of those sunflower seed feeders, a red one and a yellow. All the birds love the sunflower seeds.

I smoked for many years but finally was able to give it up nine years ago. It was the best thing I ever did. My biological mother died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and her sister of emphysema. I think emphysema may even be worse than cancer. You smother to death. I know you will miss your mom. I think she was probably proud of the person you are.

Lissa Forbes said...

I love your birds, Renee. What an interesting observation point you have and of course, you've earned it by setting up the appropriate feeders. You capture these creatures so well. Thank you for sharing.

I, too, have quit smoking now for 7.5 years. Woohoo!! I was having shortness of breath and chest pains, no insurance then, so figured quitting was the one thing I had control over. ;->

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Your bird photos are always delightful. I missed the post about your mother passing. I'm sorry she is gone so young. It is so hard to watch people smoke, knowing what can happen. If you reach just one person with your message today, that will possibly be a life that will not end too soon.

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

thinking of you & your family during this time of loss. i know that is tough. hold on to those wonderful & happy moments with your mother. may they keep you calm & at peace. give you comfort.


gorgeous bird shots. i keep wishing to put out my feeder but often the squirrels take over & rush off the birds. makes me sad. i prefer the gorgeous birds & wood peckers. they are tons of fun to watch. (:

Ivanhoe said...

I would do the same! Trying to save them all...
I'm so sorry, Reena! I quit 4 years ago. Best decision ever.
Big hugs from Ohio,
I.

Steve Gravano said...

So sorry to hear of your mom's passing. Beautiful photos. Hope that red-bellied woodpecker is ok!

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

So very sorry about your mom. Gosh, 6 weeks? That must've been tough. I tried to talk my aunt into buying those electronic cigarettes. I've been after her for years to quit smoking.

Yeah, that whole circle of life thing is not for nature lovers. I would have done what you did to save the woodpecker. So sweet that the birds were calling back and forth to each other after the traumatic ordeal.

Country Girl said...

That's a wild story, girl. I do hope the woodpecker survives. Love your new feeder. Where did you get?

grammie g said...

HI Reena...Very nice to see your feeder friends...I like to watch the red breasted nuthatch!!
I know how you feel about the Hawk, that was me a few years back, but that's the way the cycle works, and I have adjusted to it!! I still will chase one off if they are hanging near the feeders! : )
My Mom was the same age when she died of cancer, 8 weeks after diagnosis !! She was a smoker to!!
Grace

Daniel LaFrance said...

I feel for your loss. My mother passed in 2002 and she smoked too.

I`ve been smoke free for about 17 years now. I agree with you, everyone should butt out.

Feeder activity isn`t restricted to just the seed eaters.

Hilary said...

Smoking takes too many victims. I'm sorry that there was so little time for your mother. Hugs to you.

The hawk does need to eat, too. I know the feeling of wanting to protect the woodpecker but oftentimes nature knows best.

Arija said...

I am so sorry to hear of your mother's passing Reena. I really feel for her, that manner of passing is not an easy one. I too am 76 and have little time left, though for different reasons but am so grateful for every day I am given.

islandwonder said...

I could never be a wild life photographer either. I was devastated watching the nature channel onetime and they filmed a baby cheetah getting eaten.

Sorry on your mom. That is way too you.

Evelyn S. said...

I'm so sorry about your mother, Reena. That is so young (my father died 32 years ago at age 65---massive heart attack). As for your bird encounter: I understand the "law of the wild," but that would be terribly upsetting to see a bird the size of a woodpecker in the talons of a hawk! As always, you capture birds so wonderfully.

Low Tide High Style said...

Beautiful images, and I would have done the same thing to try and save the woodpecker. I know it's how nature works, but I wouldn't make a good nature photographer either! Wishing you comfort on the passing of your mother.

Kat

Mark said...

Thats a crazy story, with the hawk and all, beautiful shots of your friends.
And my condolences concerning your mom.

Kerri said...

Beautiful images! Sending ((Hugs)) your way.

Suldog said...

I think it was Jerry Seinfeld who said that, when he watched a nature show, who he rooted for depended upon what the show was about. If it was a show about antelopes, and the antelope was being chased by a lion, he'd say, "Go, little antelope. Get away! Get away!" but if the show was about lions, he rooted for the lion.

I'm kind of like that when it comes to whatever is happening in my backyard. Whatever was there first for me to look at, that's what I root for to win. So, if I had been watching red-headed or red-bellied woodpeckers for days, then a hawk came along, I would have run out and chased off the hawk, too.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

The hawk is a big meanie, I would have done the same thing (because I like woodpeckers a lot).

Pieces of Sunshine said...

I hope the woodpeckers are fine. The hawk is quite stately but let's hope it stays away from your feathered friends.

6 weeks, so quick.

bobbybegood1 said...

Like you, I too would probably try to save the prey. Glad you are able to blog so soon after such a heartbreaking experience. Wonderful post.

P. S. Great advice! Cheers!!

eileeninmd said...

Reena, I am so sorry about the loss of your Mom. Great advise, I quit 11 years ago. I love your feeder birds, the woodies and the nuthatches are some of my favorites. I think I would have done the same thing with the hawk. I am sure it found another meal somewhere else. Great shots, have a happy weekend!

bailey-road.com said...

I love your bird shots, Reena. Hope Ms. RBW is okay. I know hawks have to eat too, but I don't like to witness their strikes.
So sorry about the loss of you mother.

S. Etole said...

Glad you could come to her rescue. There was an owl watching my feeder today but it flew off into the woods.

Awena Robert said...

Reena, I also love watching birds feeding. Your photos are great (the 3rd and 4th are amazing).

Thank you for all that you share.

Have a good weekend.

rainfield61 said...

I never smoke. No need to quit smoking.

And I cannot quit photography too.

Linda R said...

Some amazing photo here. The photo of that mean old hawk is wonderful. I know I would have done the same thing as you.

I have never smoked. I tried it once and could not stop coughing. So I never tried again. So sorry to hear about your Mom..

Hugs~

She Who Carries Camera said...

What a gorgeous photo of the hawk, but YIKES would I hate to see that brutality, as well. So glad you were there to save the lovely woodpecker!

Marcie said...

What stunning captures of these exquisite birds. And - so sorry to hear of your mom. Too young. Too soon.

Michaele said...

You have been in my thoughts. I wondered if you were prepared for this, but I don't think we ever really are.
Your photography astounds me. I love the humor in it too.

Barb said...

You are Super Reena in my book! Glad you made the save. Your bird photos are super.

GailO said...

Your mom was so young Reena:( My sister died of lung cancer at 60 years old and had quit smoking about 15 years earlier. It wasn't diagnosed until it was too late. Lung cancer is a greater killer of women than breast cancer but still can't be diagnosed early...seems it needs more attention. I am so sorry for your loss too soon and too sudden.

Love those birds and it is hard to watch nature in its cruelty.

Daryl said...

hooray for you ....

and your mom is the 3rd person i have heard who got a diagnosis and was gone within the time it takes to wrap your mind around their being sick ... more hugs ..

ladyfi said...

What gorgeous shots!

Six weeks is just too short notice. My MIL got lung cancer even though she hadn't smoked for over 25 years...

My sympathies.

Friko said...

Nature red in tooth and claw and ‘survival of the fittest’ and all that, but I find I am like you and when the sparrow hawk grabs a bird off my bird table my heart contracts.

Nancy Claeys said...

I do this all the time -- trying to rescue something that really should be left alone. But the mother in us just won't let it. :)

Beautiful captures.

Barbara Shallue said...

76 is entirely too young. There's never enough time with them, I guess, but still... I'm sorry.
On another note, I'm glad you stepped out to save your woodpecker, whether that messes with the balance of nature or not. Hope she's okay!

Sharkbytes said...

So sorry about your mom. I love the little nuthatch.

Jennifer Richardson said...

beeeeautiful camera work
with those wintery birds
and a big yes and amen
to stop smoking
for the ones you love.
peace to you this season,
Jennifer

Madi and Mom said...

Hi Reena...Oh do I know what you mean about the food chain. I cannot tell you how many times I've felt guilty for having the feeders for the backyard birds for I fear it is more of a predator buffet. I have domes over the feeders because I've convinced myself it gives the wee ones some protection?

Oh my goodness I'm so sorry about your Mom's sudden passing. I often look at young folks smoking they think it makes them cool...
Hugs C

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful selection of birds, and drama at the feeders. I'm sure I would try to save the bird too, I hope it survives the attack.
Smoking claims so many victims, my Dad too.

Dianne said...

you have so many sweeties visiting you :)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Wonderful birds -- we used to have a kestrel hawk that liked to drop by our yard for song bird meals..I always tried to chase him away and worry about when i wasn't home.

I'm sorry to learn about your mother. We lost Bill's mom some time ago to the same reason ...and so agree totally with your message to all.

Margaret said...

!! I would have done the same thing. I hope they come back. Read the lovely poem below... I'm so sorry. Six weeks is just too short a time to say goodbye! But then, some people never get that. I am so very sorry.