On October 17th we joined Lake-Cook Audubon‘s morning bird walk at Middlefork Savanna. The total area of Middlefork Savanna measures 670 acres, 25 of which “is considered the highest quality tallgrass savanna of its kind in the nation and recognized as a globally threatened ecosystem.”
Our large group of enthusiastic birders saw a total of 34 species. Red-winged Blackbirds were everywhere, showing off and calling as if it was springtime.
A family of Red-headed Woodpeckers gave almost everyone in the group really great looks, and a few flying Wilson’s Snipes were lifers for many in our party. A young Cooper’s Hawk was also very cooperative, alternately swooping over the prairie and perching in plain sight.
Interestingly, at one point when the young hawk was perched in a bare tree, we noticed there was also a Mourning Dove sitting in the same tree. They sat this way together for quite a while, and a sparrow even joined them later.
Had the hawk just eaten and the other birds knew this, seeing no threat in the hawk? Was the hawk exhausted from hunting? Why did the other birds feel comfortable perching so close to a killer?