Sharp-shin in the Snow

Returning to the farm on this cold, snowy morning, I discovered a sharp-shinned hawk perched on the bird bath.  Oblivious of the blowing snow, he flew away when I stepped from my pickup.

Winter residents across the lower elevations of Colorado, sharp-shinned hawks return to the mountains or to the conifer belt of Canada to breed.  Throughout the year they prefer wooded areas where they hunt from a secluded perch or race through the trees to snare their prey.  Small to medium sized songbirds are their primary victims though they may feast on large insects and occasionally dine on snakes or amphibians.

I did not see the remains of a songbird near the bird bath and assume he merely stopped by for an icy drink.  But his unexpected presence in the swirling snow was both a special treat and a source of inspiration.  He was off to hunt in the April snowstorm while I grabbed the groceries and headed indoors!