Monday, January 12, 2009

In the city

Journal Star outdoors writer Joe Duggan had a nice column in yesterday's paper (link here) about a sharp-shinned hawk at his house. Coincidentally, just a few hours after I read the article, Julie T. called to tell me about a hawk (it turned out to be a Cooper's hawk) she had seen perched in a bush in her front yard. "The sparrows were in a state of panic," she said, as indeed they would be with an accipiter in the neighborhood.

All of which got me thinking (again) how fortunate we are to have such a plethora of urban wildlife here in Lincoln. The last few mornings, in between irritated slaps at the snooze button, I've been hearing a pair of great-horned owls in the trees behind the house. Karl Linderholm recently sent me this picture, probably taken by Mitchell, of a screech-owl at their back deck.

Then, of course, there are the redtails (one of whom I occasionally find perched on the fence just outside Stekoa's mews, prompting me to wonder what sort of communication might be transpiring between these normally asocial birds), merlins (easier to find in town, where they enjoy a concentration of European starlings, than out in the boonies), and the Capitol peregrines (previous posts here and here). City living definitely has its ups and downs, but seeing all these raptors on at least a semi-regular basis certainly helps to make it tolerable for me.

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