The Hawthorn Tree

What a fantastic specimen of a tree. I planted these smaller, very dense, perfectly shaped trees in certain areas of the yard. In a group of three they create a nice fencing, but as a singular tree in the right area, they create their own aura. Because of their density, when covered in leaves you can barely see its limbs. In the winter time, you are able to see the intricacies and network of branches and limbs.

It is this internal web that creates the best protection for any bird that seeks refuge from the hawks and, less frequently, the eagles that have a tendency to fly overhead looking for a meal.

One hawk that has frequented the area is the Cooper’s Hawk.

blending in well amongst branches of an oak tree.

This hawk likes to eat medium-sized birds more than smaller birds. Therefore, backyard birds like blue jays and cardinals are more at risk. In pursuit of prey, this hawk’s flight is powerful, quick and very agile, allowing it to thread its way through tree branches at top speed. I have watched with a wrenched stomach as they have chased birds through the more open landscape of oak and maple trees, hoping that the intended prey will find refuge somewhere.

Enter the Hawthorne tree. Take a peek inside this tree — seven blue jays taking cover. Looking overhead, I could see a red-tailed hawk soaring in the sky. This hawk was just passing through, but the birds fled to the innards of the hawthorn anyway.

This next photo shows just how dense the tree really is. I’d have to say that the blue jays blend in with the branches much better than the male cardinal. His striking color, easy to spot, is almost a taunt to any flying predator — “I know you can see me, but come and get me.”

But the tree isn’t just for protection — it is simply a good place to hang out. I must say, this cardinal’s color against a wintery backdrop is exquisite.

#winter #winterimn #cardinals #bluejays #songbirds #songbirdsinwinter #cardinalsinwinter

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