Eating breakfast outside on this fine Sunday morning our first clue that we had a visitor in the yard was the silence of the little birds. The second was a high pitched single syllable call. And, up there in the cottonwood, was the hawk.
Hawks are as hard to identify in the wild as spies are in a crowd. We have a friend, born and raised on the banks of the Missouri who maintains there are only two kinds of hawks: “Sparrow Hawks” and “Chicken Hawks.” They are distinguished only by whether they are big enough to haul off a chicken. If they are that big, they are “Chicken Hawks.” If not, they are “Sparrow Hawks.” Frankly, that is much easier than true identification of hawks.
Our guest this morning is a “Sparrow Hawk” by that definition, so the chickens – and the puppy – were relaxed in its presence. More technically, it is a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Like Romeo to Juliet, it was welcome by whatever name. A hawk is a hawk is a hawk.