Take the “Bad” with the “Good”

It never fails; the good deeds done while interfering with nature can come back and bite you “you-know-where.” I don’t know if I’ll ever find a solution. I’m always wanting to get right in there to mess things up “help.” 

By now you’ve probably figured out that I love birds. Not so long ago I refilled the birdfeeders that were getting a bit low on seeds. But was it a good thing I did? 002

Today, I looked out the front door and saw a rather large bird sitting on a landscape tie just below the birdbath. My eyes said “sharp-shinned hawk” but my mind said no, it couldn’t be a hawk because it’s just sitting still like a chicken. A hawk would only sit for a split second and then move on. No point in running for the camera.

When, after about 30 seconds (a long time for a hawk to sit in the open like this), I decided to sneak upstairs to get the camera after all, it flew up. But it landed again just on the fence rail. That told me two things: it was comfortable here, and the food source was too good to pass up. I could almost hear him saying, “This is no time to be camera shy.” Or maybe he was already too fat to fly far.

Upstairs I grabbed the camera, but rather than risk having the hawk fly farther, I took a desperation shot through the window. It’s not great, but it was good enough to make an I.D. The Cooper’s hawk is very similar, but I’m pretty sure this is a sharp-shinned hawk.

The little songbirds and I are learning a hard lesson and the little guys are paying the price. I know now that when you attract animals by feeding them, you also attract their predators. I’m still learning to accept that the real world doesn’t work the way we were taught as children when we saw everything through Disney glasses that came with huge reality-blinders.

Here’s the sharp-shinned hawk. He has a beauty of his own, but my Disney glasses tell me he’s the bad bird eating the good birds.


I think he had already eaten. He certainly didn’t look undernourished. The rest of my little chickadees, juncos, and nuthatches will also eat well from the refilled feeder. Looks like they’ll all have a Happy New Year – at least, the survivors will.

I hope you’re all survivors in the coming year, surviving little let-downs and disappointments and thriving on all the good things that come your way. Be sure to notice those good things, lest they slip away unappreciated. It’s the little things all put together that enrich our lives.

Happy New Year to all my blogging friends and followers. You rock!

26 thoughts on “Take the “Bad” with the “Good”

      • Santa “myth”? What’s that about?!?

        I had my own experience with a sharp-shinned hawk and my bird feeders. I’d hung a couple in a tree in front of my apartment. The birds fed like crazy for a couple of weeks, and then I never saw them at the feeders. I kept looking until finally, I found the reason. He was perched on the rooftop luggage rack of a Ford Explorer, with a straight shot to the feeders. Live and learn. I moved the feeders.


        • It makes me feel really guilty for attracting the birds and putting them in danger. I guess it’s a universal problem. The alternative is to let the birds fend for themselves, but sometimes it’s so cold and there’s little food. What to do???


          • Just remember – the hawks have to eat, too. Besides, if the birds that gather at your feeder have little food and become weak or less cautious in their search for food, they’re easier for the hawks to pick off, even in the wild. As hard as such things are to witness, they’re a part of life.

            I did have some success hanging feeders in places where the hawks couldn’t swoop in without risking a run-in with a wall, etc. They want to be able to make a clean getaway, so to speak. 😉


  1. When it gets real cold here, we have the same problem with those small hawks. I don´t know them by name (and they are very pretty) but I don´t like them around the birdfeeder. Have a happy New Year, Anneli. Yes, we will remember only the good things in life.


    • He’s up in a tree right now smacking his lips in anticipation of his next hors d’oevre. Hawks are beautiful too. I wish I could have opened the window and taken my time to get a better photo of him but for sure he would have flown.
      I wish you lots of happy photo shoots this year. I’m looking forward to seeing the results in your blog posts.


  2. Yes, I had figured you love birds (eagles no less!), and with good cause. In fact, you’ve given me even more appreciation for birds, in your posts.

    I think people who have bird feeders are just wonderful. WHEN I eventually have a house, not a rented flat, I will most definitely have a bird feeder – even if just for adventures like this! 🙂


  3. A wonderful new year to you as well, with lots more of these enjoyable posts! Your back yard seems to be a wonderland for bird lovers. Hopefully that hawk has made a resolution to get some more exercise and hunt farther afield.


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