I think I may be on the trail of discovering a new species of hawk in Alabama.
I have often seen Buteo Jaicenis (Red-tailed hawks):
|Photo from the Alabama Coorperative Extension System|
Or Buteo lineatus (Red-shouldered hawks):
|This photo also from www.aces.edu|
Both of these species of hawk are well known for their eyesight, their piercing scream and their hunting prowess.
That's why I believe that the hawk that lives in my neighborhood is perhaps a new species, unrelated to these fierce, efficient hunters.
This new hawk will be named Buteo Bytrum-digitus, or the Butter-fingered hawk. I suspect that this hawk is pretty rare...possibly on the verge of extinction before it is ever properly discovered and its existence documented. My suspicions are based on the fact that this hawk seems lose at least half of its meal every time it hunts.
Also, it appears that this majestic bird of prey is indigenous to my back yard. The first sighting of the Butter-fingered Hawk happened while the whole family was outside on our (very weathered) deck. Jeff and I were standing on the deck. The kiddo was throwing a ball to the dogs. Then we heard this shriek! All movement stopped and we saw something small come plummeting toward us. The three of us all sorta ducked for cover....then we heard a small, kind of wet-sounding thud:
|This photo courtesy of Jeff's cell phone.|
Well, there's something you don't nearly get hit in the head with every day...a chipmunk butt. Like, LITERALLY a chipmunk butt. Jeff shot a quick pic and then had to wrestle the chipmunk half away from the dogs. They assumed that it had started raining manna from Heaven.
A few weeks later, I went to the edge of the yard to check the blueberry bushes we have there and caught the odor of something foul. I didn't actually SEE the Butter-fingered Hawk this time...but this certainly seemed to fit his M.O:
Yes, my photo is blurry but that's because I was trying not to toss my cookies at the overpowering stench of the rotting chipmunk carcass. The dogs wanted me to give it to them SOOOOO BAD. (Not happening, you fie-hounds. I don't care how DELICIOUS it seemed, or how much fun you would have had rolling all over this gooey carcass until you smelled like Hell on a Rampage, no dead chipmunk for you!)
So...be on the lookout for sightings of this rare and wonderful (if you are a dog) bird. Also...be ready to duck, because...ew.