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Bird sitting on the fence

Bird sitting on the fence

Dear Hinterland Who's Who,

We live in Winnipeg, fairly close to downtown. One afternoon, at the end of August, I caught a sight of fluttering out of the corner of my eye and found this bird sitting on the fence beside our garage. I stood there watching it and it just sat, watching me back.

I ran inside and came back out with the camera. I took a shot from near the house, then kept walking closer, taking more photos. Eventually, I was almost close enough to touch the bird.

I thought it was strange for it to sit so calmly while I approached it, so I started looking closely at it. I couldn't see anything wrong with it and then I remembered the wood pile on the other side of the fence. I thought that the raptor might have spotted a rabbit in there and was just waiting for it to come out. I went to that side of the fence and kicked the branches one time. After a few seconds, a small black bird (kind of shimmery blue/black feathers) walked out and quickly took flight. The raptor immediately followed and they swooped over our neighbours house, down the street, and out towards the Red River. I tried to follow, but lost sight of them.

Since then, we've tidied up the wood pile and haven't seen any more birds like this. I think it was a peregrine falcon.

HWW Note: As it turns out, this bird is most likely an immature sharp-shinned hawk based on its coloration (brown back, heavy, bold streaks on underparts, and pale stripe above eye), size (relative to fence post), and behaviour (hunting songbird in backyard). It is similar to a Northern Goshawk and Cooper's hawk, but is much smaller than a goshawk (goshawks are 22", sharpies are 11"), and Cooper's lack the white stripe above the eye. Peregrine falcons have a very distinguishable dark moustache, that is not present on this bird.