Red-tailed Hawks and being in the moment, a yoga and bird-watching influenced 420 character 9-liner where I realize that Red-tails might just soar for the fun of it like I do?

Pre-420 note on the photographer:

This photograph is by Alexander Kearney who does amazing things with his camera. We’ve been on walks with him where none of us have gotten a really good bead on the bird; Alex is able to find it, take a bunch of pix, and voila, all of a sudden we see what’s hidden in the bracken. Every world needs an Alex to help us see. He says this about his work: “I’m trying to figure out a way to purchase a Nikon 600mm lens, so that I can further my perception of birds (and wildlife) from a more accurate image…The fascination and application that I possess, drives me to work with what I have…My persistence is based upon my enjoyment; if I am able to share and provide enjoyment to others, I feel good.”  Alexander G. Kearney (P.O.Box 193; Kent CT 06757)

Red Tail 1d _ACK7278

Simply being is me. I soar like the Red-tail,

the one I see hang

above the snow-crusted-corn-stalk stubbled-frozen-manure-spread field,

circling with broad, rounded wings.

Hunting? But, since RTs soar only when sated, perhaps she’s thinking:

let’s set my wings, catch a warm thermal draft, &

with nary a wing beat I can be at 3000′

to peer down for a big picture of where the food’s at for later;

or…I’ll simply be.



Roger Tory Peterson is the kind of author whose work inspires sequels by young admiring writers.  He started out as a distracted, rebellious son of working-class immigrants. His AHA moment? The sight of a woodpecker sleeping on a tree trunk.  Peterson went on to be the most important naturalist/scientist of the last hundred years, completely self-taught.

(I adore the work of America’s Other Audubon, Genevieve Jones. See for yourself.)

I keep a few Peterson field guides close at hand to help me learn more about the birds that come to my backyard all winter.

This big guy at my feeder is a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I hear it call, a rolling querr? and sing, chiv-a, chiv-a, chiv-a. It stores caches of suet, drumming row upon row of small holes (sometimes in our cedar siding) and wedging a single nut or seed into each one.

Here’s my Tufted Titmouse, a tough little guy that’s quick to harass all predators.  When it sings, it’s a sweet  “peter peter peter peter“; its call is a sharp scratchy, tsee-day-day-day.

I never tire of watching stocky nuthatches climb down trees headfirst. They sound kind of nasal, yank or yank-yank.  They hang out with hoards of chickadees and titmice.  I’m thinking it’s a case of strength in numbers. The flock is a safe place to be, a collective vigilant group that’s alert to possible attacks from predators.

There’s nothing as graceful as a red-tailed hawk soaring on updrafts over the meadow in search of small mammals.  Like squirrels. Thank you, resident red-tail, you’re my hero.  It’s screech –  keeeer-r-r – is unmistakable.

The cardinal is a standout in the starkness of winter.  It’s got such a cheerful song, what-chee, cheery cheery cheery or whoit whoit whoit. I notice that male cardinals are very protective of their mates, sometimes attacking their own reflection in my window.

This isn’t a Hairy – it’s a Downy, a mini-woodpecker that calls out with a short sharp pik.

Here’s a bold guy, both in color and behavior, that screams a loud, raucous jay! jay! jay!  Blue jays are ferocious in the defense of their territory and pretty fearless, too.  I’ve seen them dive and mob birds of prey, dogs, and even people.



The “four calling birds” that we sing about today were, at different times, “four canary birds” and “four mockingbirds,” and before that they show up as “colly birds” or “collie birds,” which is the archaic term for blackbirds. There were, for some reason, always four of them.


My hardy buddies wait every morning for the RFS (Reliable Food Source aka Jim) to deliver them a bit of Comfort.  And in return, they deliver Joy to me.

Toni 12/23/13



If You Focus on a Single Task or Object–or Idea–You Fail to Notice What’s In Plain Sight. White Red-Tailed Hawks, Snow Buntings, Magic, Neuro-Science, Apollo Robbins, Reframing, Inattentional Blindness, Our Congress: Another 420 Character Piece in 9 Lines.

white red-tailed hawk

Magicians depend on inattentional blindness to make their tricks work.

So I miss Snow Buntings

because I focused on a white Red-tailed Hawk.

Bystanders don’t see a gorilla because they’re busy counting passes.

Our Congress ignores melting glaciers, entitlement & tax reform,

doesn’t stabilize the debt as a share of overall economy

because they fix on WHAT!

Al Franken? The NRA? The Evangelicals?

UH, magicians needed!

PATTY 1/12/13