In the summertime,
when it's mosquito season,
what are birdbaths for?
-- by Shoil, Concord
Dear Gary: A loud and huge (big as in golden eagle big!) red-tailed hawk has recently taken up residence in the Sycamore area of Danville, just east of Greenbrook and Sycamore Valley Road. The wake-up-everybody loud "EEK" screams echo throughout the neighborhood from sunrise to sunset.
I've observed it hunting the open area hillsides. I believe he has made kills in our backyard (we have bird feeders and many birds, e.g., 30 young quail last evening). I watched him through binoculars for more than 10 minutes up high on a neighborhood redwood. Every now and then he emitted another loud "EEK."
This hawk is one of the unique and interesting visitors to an area where we commonly see normal-size hawks teaching their young and hunting the abundant ground squirrels and birds.
I guess my question is whether this is an anomaly? Do huge, loud hawks suddenly appear from another area? The coloring even seems a little unusual, which accounts for initially thinking this may be an eagle. Certainly golden eagles don't hunt low and loudly -- do they?
Dear Ron: So what makes you think it isn't a golden eagle?
It is typical of young birds of prey
Eventually they shut up as their hunting skills improve and their bellies start to fill up.
If it's "big as in golden eagle big," that may be what it is.
Dear Gary: Last week on Interstate 880 heading east, a highway patrol car started weaving across the lanes to stop traffic. My car was on the outside lane, second vehicle back.
All of a sudden the highway patrolman came into view, walking backward pulling a big opossum with a noose around its neck, attached to a long stick. He pulled it off the freeway and it was still kicking.
I'm sure lots of drivers behind wondered what was going on.
Dear Marilyn: As you could see by that pole and noose he was using to help the opossum off the road, high patrol officers have a lot of interesting jobs.
Let's hear a round of applause for the officer's act of kindness in keeping that poor opossum from turning into roadkill!
A final note
Last weekend I called our two cats, Jazz and Newman, together on the couch in the family room and told them I had decided to retire.
I told them that after Friday, I was going to be staying home with them a lot more.
"Noooo!" they screamed. "You can't do that to us!"
Contact Gary Bogue at email@example.com; or write Gary, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.