Juvenile Northern Goshawk on garden fence post with faded prayer flags

Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,
Strive for her son to seize my careless heart;
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart:
Chase him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
And fright him as the morning frightens night!

from “To Hope” by John Keats

This post is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimitic. You can read Keat’s complete poem here. I’ve been observing birds at my garden for a long time. This immature Northern Goshawk has been a visitor for about a week. Winter is hard for wildlife. Consider the predator that must keep optimistic to spy and capture its meal.  A predator at my bird feeder is not necessarily a bad thing. An oportunist, it takes advantage when it can to locate food. Predators are a necessary part of the food chain, eliminating the weaker, slower, less alert prey and thereby strengthening the gene pool of the survivors and reducing their competition when scavenging their food. I root for the predator and I root for the prey. They teach me patience and hope.

(I’m not certain of this hawk’s identification but it’s the best I can do with the sitings and photos I’ve had available.)

Telephoto lens make the hawk look like it’s closer to the feeder than it really is.
Quail tracks in my garden. A covey lives beneath the mass of Elderberry and Wild Cherry and Wild Current bushes nearby.
Quail are among several types of birds that are optimistic at my feeder. I use only black oil sunflower seeds.
American Gold Finches rest in the Elderberry branches next to my garden, and very near the feeder.
Look in the center near the pine trunk for the Red Breasted Nuthatch. I have only 1 pair of these just now, and I would intervene to save them. This daring little fool darted to the feeder for a seed even while the hawk was on the post. It brings one seed at a time back to the tree to eat.
See the fox tracks trailing from the tree, around the snow mounded on the “giant hands chairs” and under the brush? Bigger tracks are probably from my dogs.

Last night a neighbor and my dogs alerted me to the likelihood a mountain lion or bob cat is prowling our neighborhood. I’ll see if I can find cat tracks today. The moon has been full for a few nights.






8 thoughts on “Optimistic”

  1. Wow! Beautiful backyard birdwatching! I get all the same ones, except the goshawk and quail. In years past there was a resident Cooper’s hawk in our yard, where I saw him catch dinner at the bird feeder. One of my favorite sightings is when a huge flock of tiny bushtits comes through!
    Great photos! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. It’s really hard for me to identify hawks except Red Tails and they don’t all have red tails, just the shape. I don’t think I get bushtits here. I’d love to see your photos if you make some. Today I was able to get to the brush on show shoes. I’ll post those photos in a day or two.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not sure we get Varied Thrushes. We had them at the beach house on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. So many in spring! Remarkable coloring. We get Evening Grosbeaks year round but I don’t see them often away from the feeder. I really should look for them in the pines.


    1. Thanks. I worked as an environmental educator, a naturalist, and learned to appreciate the complete food chain and the niche each animal and plant keeps. I would protect my few nutchatches and chickadees if I could, even so. But other birds are plentiful this winter, and we see few predators.


    1. Thank you Dune Mouse. It’s actually my front yard. We put the garden right below our deck to take advantage of the south facing warm soil. Some of these photos are looking through windows, others taken from the south deck. It’s a wonderful place to live if you like wildlife, snow, and extreme summer heat. I do!

      Liked by 1 person

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