Yikes! Nature Upclose in Siouxland, Sioux City

9 Mar
A Cooper’s hawk sits on a crossbar of a clothes line in a backyard on an exceptionally cold day with windchill creating a temperature of -8 degrees in Sioux City, Iowa, Tuesday, February 23, 2022. All the normal song birds had left and stayed away until the hawk departed. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I must admit I enjoy photographing nature when out and about in Siouxland. I have learned a lot of birds and trying to capture an image with some success and a lot of misses. But I continue to improve my ability to record what I see. I have visited a number of nature refuges around Siouxland looking for critters, winged and four-legged.

But sometimes one only needs to outside one’s front door, or in this case, back door. And nature appears a little too close. Recently I was trying to figure out why my cat was intently staring out into the backyard. I looked and a couple of squirrels seemingly agitated and then noticed there were no song birds about at any of the feeders I have.

Upon closer inspection I spied the raptor, a Cooper’s hawk perched on the cross are of a clothesline just taking in its surroundings. I have notice a hawk flying about this past year and can hear its call or cry at times. The noisy squirrels were in a bush with many branches so not ideal for the hawk to retrieve either of them and they wanted to get to the seed on the ground that smaller birds had spilled earlier. After stepping outside to photograph the large bird it flew off. Maybe 15 minutes later song birds were again eating on the ground and at the feeders. Sometimes certain guests are just not welcomed, especially the predatory kind that will pick off the smaller birds to feed on as well as other small animals.

Nature unclose and personal is sometimes too close.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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