Tough Winter

While Ward has remained in the area throughout the winter, I've heard nothing from June for more than two months.  Ward is shown here as he checks out the roof after entered the nest last week to escape pursuing crows. I suspect that June was forced to seek better hunting elsewhere when the weather took a bitter turn in mid January. Hopefully, the warmer weather that we are now experiencing will encourage her return. Without another owl to call to, Ward was less vocal than usual for most of the winter, but recently issued his monkey call from the rail of the nest box during a nighttime visit. If they are to nest this year, activity should pick up soon.
This Cooper's Hawk, which I now believe to be Emma, has also had an extremely challenging winter. It appeared to have broken its right leg when it crashed into a neighbors window last October and fell stunned to the lawn. After about 15 minutes, it stood up on its left leg and hopped around a bit before flying to a nearby branch and perching with its right leg still tucked into its breast feathers. This picture was taken last week when the hawk perched in Ward's favorite tree for almost an hour. For the entire time, it kept its right leg tucked into its breast feathers while perching on its left leg. As it prepared to fly away, it finally lowered the right leg, but only gingerly touched the branch when a gust of wind nearly blew it off the branch. It would be unusual for a raptor to survive this long with a broken leg and I will be watching the hawk's nest carefully to find out if this hawk uses it in the spring.

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