A Rare Hawk Here! Then Some Sobering News - UPDATE January 26, 2020

Sitting at my desk mid-morning, a big bird with a light underside swooped by. My first thought was a snowy owl. 20200126 Goshawk juvGoshawk juvenileThen it landed outside my window and folded its brown wings. A juvenile Northern Goshawk! I haven’t seen this rare hawk since April 30, 2002. Very impressive with its 2-foot length and nearly 4-foot wingspan. On the branch, I could see the white eyebrow mark and uneven tail bars that distinguish it from its smaller cousin the Cooper’s Hawk. As I angled the camera up from my chair, the hawk spotted it and flew.

The Sibley bird book says: “Rare. Found in very small numbers in mixed forests where clearings, wetlands, or other features provide open areas. Hunts mainly from perch for grouse, rabbits, and squirrels, launching explosive attack once prey is sighted.”

I suspect it spotted red squirrels in the yard.

It was the highlight of the day. The mink left tracks on the ground but must have been too full of bologna to pay a proper visit. It always feels good to go out on the second floor deck and have the deer no longer run away but just look up for me to sprinkle sunflower seed hearts on the snow. Deer nibbling balsam firDeer nibbling balsam firFour watched in a tight group for that scene today. They often nibble branches of the balsam fir tree in the yard between sunflower treats.

Then I got a call. I’m glad I visited my birth mother on January 6 and have those memories. She passed this evening at 97 years and 2 weeks. Just today, I was looking at a picture of me dancing with her at Kelly’s wedding 16 years ago. I also remember her and me riding on a snowmobile going to see Gerry the Bear who I named after her in April 1989. She liked Gerry. Good memories.

Thank you for all you do.
Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center

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