On the wing

Now that the leaves are down, if you are driving or walking along a tree-lined street or highway, you only need to look up and surely you will see a hawk sitting on a branch, surveying the land around it.

Winter is not only the best season for watching these raptors, it is the best hunting season for year-round hawks. The trees are free of leaves and dinner is out in the open, ready for the plucking. For the same reason, winter is the best time to witness “bird hawks” in action.

Often hawks will be seen perched near a backyard bird feeder. People sometimes feel guilty when they watch a hawk capture a bird attracted to their feeders. Don’t. If the hawk hadn’t gotten its meal at your feeder, it would have found it in another yard or field. Your feeder just makes it a tad more convenient for nature to take its course.

Like it or not, it’s a bird-eat-bird world out there.