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The Gearboat Chronicles

Raptor Hanky Panky

Time for another episode of Birdwatching Gearboat Chronicles-style, which is fun because I don’t know anything about birds.

Take this one, for instance. When I first saw it swooping around over my yard I thought: hawk.

But crikey, I don’t know. My bird-wise friends are always throwing around fancy words like “ferruginous” and “falcon” and blahty-blaah. I feel good about the hawk part, but what kind I dunno.

My second thought was: Go get your camera. Whatever this creature is, it’s flying really low and looks cool.

As you can see in this next photo, he comes in to land on a treetop . . . w-a-a-a-i-i-t just a tic . . . is that . . . are those . . . ?

Oh my.
Ummm . . . I’m not for sure about this, but it appears I may have unwittingly photographed some hanky panky amongst the raptors. Or courtship. Ohhh boy. Who’s embarrassed now? Me.
But in the interest of science I feel I must go forward with publishing these images, so shoo the children from the room because while I’m no good at IDing birds, I do have some facility with the art of reading beaks. Similar to lip reading but with less frowning and smiling. 
So I will now translate this exchange going on here.
Looking for mice . . . looking fo– What in the? . . .
Heya! Did you miss me?
Stan, I told you I need time to figure things out.

Belinda, have you done something new with your feathers? Highlights?
Stanley, you know I – what’s over there, on your left? . . .
I don’t . . . oh, sure, just fly away . . . re-a-a-a-l mature.

I’m going to my sisters nest. Don’t call or text me.

I’ll just watch sports or . . . are those mice?

They ironed things out enough to have a chat in the top of a dead Cottonwood tree later on. They’re working things out. One day at a time. It’s tough. But I have a feeling they’re going to be just fine. A little birdy told me so.

Hey, look at me . . . I know you can see me. We have excellent eyesight.

[Update: I called Google and asked, and now suspect what we’ve got here are Swainson’s hawks. Could be wrong. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.]