Yesterday I spent a few minutes between meetings checking to see if I could again see the Sharp-tailed Grouse that was the wonder of the Anchorage Christmas Bird Count in December. No luck. Later in the day, I took a few pictures of a very fluffy snowfall that eventually added a couple of inches to the yard.
Today after lunch I was trying to keep our dog quiet so my husband could nap before heading off to his evening work-shift, and was periodically looking out over the yard.
Suddenly I realized that there was a bird on the backyard feeders that was substantially bigger than the Common Redpolls and Pine Grosbeaks and smaller than the Black-billed Magpies that had just been there.
It was a Sharp-shinned Hawk investigating the bird feeders, one by one. Of course there were no other birds around anymore. It was fascinating to watch the hawk carefully peer at each feeder and at the remaining seeds as if expecting something to emerge.
The hawk went up to the nearest birch tree for awhile.
The hawk next went down to the feeder below its perch and pecked at seeds from the feeder that hangs beneath a suet feeder, where I photographed it. Sadly, I was unable to get a photo as the hawk hovered next to the suet feeder before it returned to a birch-tree perch.
For the next half hour, the Sharpie perched in the birch tree, looking around, and periodically preening. The only other bird that I saw in the yard during that time was a Red-breasted Nuthatch that briefly landed above the Sharpie and then raced away out of sight of me and the hawk.
After the hawk zoomed away to find a more productive site, about 40 Common Redpolls returned for a quick gobbling down of food before also leaving for parts unknown.
I love the unexpected among the expected in birding!