Wolf Journey Study Day – Chris FE 003 – Sharp-Shinned Hawk Hunting Songbirds While I Map My Study Site

Wolf Journey Journal Cover Page for Field Exercise # 003

Name of Field Exercise: Mapping Your Study Site

Date & Time of Study Site Visit: 1600, February 17, 2010

Plants, Animals, Minerals Experienced Today: (make up a name / give it a number if unsure)  Kim pointed out a new bird at the feeder this week: an Audubon Race Yellow-Rumped Warbler! But wait, there’s more. As I was sitting at my office chair, a flash of wings passed right under my window. Having experienced this before, I knew the situation: the songbirds were being hunted!

The Black-capped Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Bushtit, Dark-eyed Junco, House Sparrows and Anna’s Hummingbird were all freaking out, making alarm calls, but knowing that it was the larger birds – the Stellar’s Jay, Robins, and Spotted Towhees that the Sharp-Shinned Hawk was after. These latter birds were in hiding, except that the Robins were caught off guard!

I took some pictures from inside, then grabbed my video camera to watch the action:

Where Seen, Status and/or Health, if known:

The House Finches, Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Bewick’s Wren, Song Sparrows, Winter Wren were absent today, so they missed all the action, thankfully.

Description and/or Drawing/Photo of Individual, Track or Sign: Today it was actually my goal to finish Field Exercise 003 – Mapping My Study Site, so here it is:


Approx Temperature when you were at study site, plus today’s high and low, if known: 52f

Wind direction and strength when you were at study site, plus other wind factors today if known: From West, 7 mph

Describe any precipitation and cloud cover while at study site and at other times today if known: Foggy this morning; otherwise clear with few light clouds

Approx. Humidity while at study site, plus any changes you noticed: 62%

Barometric Pressure, if known: 30.20 in, steady

Ground water level, lake/stream/river level, or tides: 1.0 foot under surface

Degrees above the southern horizon the sun was at noon (1 p.m. DST), or where it rose or set on the horizon as viewed from your secret place: 30.20 degrees above southern horizon at 12:20. Hoping I remember to watch the sunset and mark where it goes down today since it’s clear; tomorrow sunrise as well!

Phase of the moon, and where it rose or set on the horizon as viewed from your secret place, or degrees above the southern horizon at midnight (or 1 a.m. DST): Waxing 10% Crescent; Rose at 08:09, Sets at 21:45

Describe and/or draw in any extra space above the arrangement of the planets you saw in the sky (and if possible, what constellations were overhead, rising or setting) and at what time of night: Mars appears slightly orange/red high in the east at sunset and is setting at approximately 02:30. Orion is high in the south at sunset and sets at around 23:30 along with the Pliedies an hour earlier, Serius an hour late. The big dipper is standing on its handle at sunset, with casiopia appearing like an E to the west of the north star, polaris.

Were you prepared for this field exercise? Did you start and complete it at good times? Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Yes, and I’m loving it!

Write if and/or how you are progressing toward the goals you wrote before this chapter. What were your best achievements and greatest challenges today out in the field, while studying, or while working on a Wolf Journey project. Name at least one achievement. Getting that map done!

How are your physical health, emotional feelings and mental attitude today? It may be best to put any further feelings about yourself or others in your diary, unless it has to do with a large turning point in your life as an earth skills specialist. Feeling more relaxed this week, but needing to start running to get in shape for summer!

Further observations, field experiences, uses and research of species/minerals studies: Psyched that I’m learning more details about the birds.

Further comments on your your goals, achievements, or planned research if you need to do additional work or study site time before completing this field exercise: Still need to write my goals out!

Additional drawings, photoes, etc:

Picture through our kitchen window of the sharp-shinned, a true “accepiter” hawk, missed his prey under our bird feeders, then rested on the compost tarp.
I thought it had left, but then I saw it in the apple tree on the north side of the house, so I snapped this photo then went inside to grab the video camera. See above for video link, showing the sharp-shinned going after a Robin.

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