If you have big trees on your property you probably get a lot of hawks. They love our neighborhood, a few blocks north of Bidwell Park, where people still appreciate big yards and big trees.
We have these black walnuts right alongside our house. When we rebuilt this place, we could have removed them, they were neglected, in pretty sad shape, and some people consider black walnuts a possible danger. Just the other day I was standing in my garden, and I heard some snapping and popping, and looked up just in time to see a 6 or 8 foot long branch, about as big around as my leg, come toppling down and split into chunks against the top of our little cedar fence. It was so dried out, just rotten through, I put it in my wood pile. My grandpa always told us kids, don’t linger around under a black walnut on a breezy day.
These trees shade the whole side of our little apartment, and they give us a lot of pleasure, so there they are. Mostly we get woodpeckers, from Flickers to Downies. They search the cracks in the bark for bugs, their long tongues flicking in and out. We also get an occasional Nuthatch. Right now, the titmice have all fledged another brood, and they are swarming the trees looking for gall wasps. Takes a lot of gall wasps to make a meal, I imagine.
But the hawks usually stick to the enormous cedars in our front yard, or the oaks in the back acre. We have a lot of moles and gophers, I’m sure this is apparent from the air – every now and then I look out a window just in time to see a hawk make a low swoop. Today I was sitting here, and right outside the window, I heard this high-pitched call – “aw aw aw!”
I always wonder – what are they saying? Sometimes you hear an answering call, way over there… I also notice, all the little birds, even blue jay, go suddenly silent. Bird “expert” Roger Lederer told me raptors mostly eat rodents, but one day I saw a kite catch and eat a little bird in my yard. I know, Nature, yadda yadda.