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self portrait - circa 1996


Observations from Home

Louise found this little Chippy has a home on step of her deck...fairly safe from predators.Late yesterday morning just when the sunlight began to peek through the leaves at High Point the woodland creatures that make this place home became alarmingly vocal. A red squirrel was making its rapid-fire “pip, pip, pip” warning call at an inexhaustible pace that is usually accompanied with a dance that includes side-to-side stomping feet, a fox squirrel was twitching his tail and flat against a big white oak tree with his neck careening oddly to one side, and the blue jays came swooping into the scene while yelling “Jay! Jay!”

All this activity adds up to one thing … predator!  Just then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted some movement. It was a large brown and white bird hopping around a tree stump in the front yard. Last year we removed a few ash trees and this particular stump had sprung up a bushy outcrop of leaves, in what I surmise was the tree’s feeble attempt to save itself. It was this stump that had the bird’s attention. It was a Cooper’s hawk in pursuit of something.

As he hopped around the clump, sticking his head in and out of the leaves the warning noises continued. Slowly the mob was joined by a chickadee, titmouse, and a couple downy woodpeckers. A blue jay flew down and almost hit the top of the hawks head. The hawk ignored the jay. I saw a small face; it was the face of a chipmunk, and then it disappeared. His woodland friends had come to his rescue, to mob the predator. The standoff lasted about a minute before the hawk flew and up into a nearby tree. There he sat for quite sometime staring into the tangle he had just left. He turned and looked up at the jays calling and it was then the chipmunk scooted out of the leaves and down a hole while announcing to the hawk his escape with a quick “chip!” 

Louise Dawson
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinal’s

"Happiness is wanting what you have."

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