Friday, October 19, 2007

Preening for dummies

On Friday morning, I again had the privilege of watching a Sparrowhawk in the garden. A few weeks back, I saw a young female - this time, it was a young male. Again, he wasn't very interested in hunting (perhaps he'd eaten recently?) and instead spent more than an hour sitting on the garden fence watching the world go by and preening his feathers.

The other garden birds knew that they weren't really in danger and continued to use the feeder, only 12 feet away.

Hawk and a rose

The long, banded tail feathers were a bit tricky to reach; the hawk ran his bill along each one before letting them ping back into place

Important to keep those primaries in tip-top condition

Not sure what was going on here... perhaps some tidying of coverts

His toes got covered in down every time he folded one leg up into his breast feathers

It's important for Sparrowhawks to have clean toes so they had to come off somehow.

Portraits. On the top-left one you can see the nictitating membrane ('third eyelid)

Ready for action

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece