Arboretum, mystery hawk, blue jay war declaration

March 25, 2009

When I first arrived at the arboretum at JMU Tuesday evening, I saw from the parking lot an obvious hawk. What wasn’t so obvious was which species it was. I only managed to make a few frames before it took off. I’ve narrowed the possibilities to the following: sharp-shinned hawk, coopers hawk, broad-winged hawk or a juvenile northern harrier.


Any birding gurus are welcome to take a stab at what it might be.

I also crept up on a few groundhogs and observed them for a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, so I guess that’s just another sign that it really is spring.

Around the pond itself I had some good experiences with cardinals, robins and even another heron. I also briefly saw my foe, the blue jay (I’ve declared unofficial war – see earlier posts if you’re confused).

All in all, a pleasant outing with beautiful light.

8 Responses to “Arboretum, mystery hawk, blue jay war declaration”

  1. Frank Moran Says:

    I live about a mile from the arboretum by Stone Spring Rd. and I have a similar visitor. I lovingly refer to it as “the falcon”. It’s presence is known in two different ways:

    1. a cloud of dove feathers explodes at my bird feeder as the falcon rockets in for a meal.

    2. If the blue jays spot the falcon first, they actually give out a hawk-like call and all the birds scatter, leaving only the falcon at the feeder wondering where everyone went.

  2. Evan Dyson Says:

    An off-site vote was for Coopers.

  3. Evan Dyson Says:

    Very interesting little dynamics you have going on in your yard! Now seems to be a pretty good time for birdwatching.

  4. Renee Says:

    It’s definitely either sharp shinned or cooper’s, my vote is for Cooper’s.

    It’s so interesting you posted this today, because literally just yesterday I saw and commented on this on Flickr:


  5. Jim T Says:

    I’m going with the crowd and voting Coopers. I found this site helpful last year when we had a nesting pair in the yard at the cabin:

    You have a good photo (of course – and at least one!) – you can send it to them and they will try and make an id.

    Last time I was out a few weeks ago, I saw and heard the hawks, 3 of them – they’ve returned. The Cornell people told me they were likely programmed into my area since we had a successful nest.


  6. Renee Says:

    Thought you may be interested in this Flickr group:

    Northern Parula
  7. Evan Dyson Says:

    Thanks for the links. Good stuff all around.

  8. […] In March of 2009 (if you’ve been following along), I jokingly declared war on blue jays. […]

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