Sharpies galore and small falcon foraging behavior

Yesterday’s break in the weather brought the first good Sharp-shinned Hawk push of the year to date. Once the sun came out in the late morning, there wasn’t a time all day when Sharpies weren’t in view zipping by the watch, four, five, six at a time. The tally for the day was 362 with the overall count for all species topping 500.

A number of times this fall I have observed Merlins and Kestrels capturing Monarchs on the wing. In most cases, they release the butterfly right away, instinctively realizing their mistake. I suspect there are those times when it takes that first bite to learn that Monarchs aren’t a suitable food source. Most extraordinary was yesterday watching a female Kestrel dispatch a Red-bellied Snake that was probably in the 8-10 inch range; a hardy meal for such a small raptor.