By Jack Spaulding
---- — Last year during the height of winter, I noticed the ground around the birdfeeder was sometimes be littered with feathers. Every third or fourth day, I found the remains of one of the birds visiting the feeder. I was sure the culprit was a hawk, but an opportunity to identify the perpetrator never happened.
Last week, I glanced out the upstairs window and saw a medium sized hawk setting in the ash tree devouring a small bird. I was able to get the binoculars and get a close up look. It was a hawk I’ve seen before, but have never positively identified.
The bird had its back to me, and the first thing I noticed was the square, banded tail. When it finished its meal, it turned on its perch and faced me. Then, I could see the somewhat small head and gray chest dappled with small darker feathers.
Knowing the hawk was waiting to waylay another bird at the feeder, I opened the window and clapped my hands loudly. It immediately launched from its perch; and rather than take to the open sky away from the river, sought an escape route through the thick river bottom timber. Whipping away at full speed, the bird dipped and cart-wheeled through the timber, and was quickly out of sight.
According to the National Geographic bird book, my predator at the feeder was a Sharp-shinned hawk. One of the identifying keys was its square banded tail, small head and the bird’s preference for forest land.
A couple of days later, I noticed the hawk was back. As I raised the window to clap my hands, it immediately took wing through the trees. As the hawk disappeared, I noticed a second sharp-shinned following closely behind. I learned later, foraging at a bird feeder can be a learned trait for both the Sharp-shinned hawk and the Cooper’s hawk.
Reserved Youth Turkey Hunts
Youth hunters can apply for a reservation to hunt one of 21 DNR properties during the special youth wild turkey hunting season, April 19 and 20. The hunters must be younger than 18 on the day of the hunt.
The reserved hunts are at the following fish & wildlife areas (FWAs): Atterbury, Crosley, Deer Creek, Glendale, Hovey Lake, Jasper-Pulaski, Sugar Ridge, Kankakee, Kingsbury, LaSalle, Pigeon River, Roush, Tri-County, Minnehaha, Fairbanks Landing, Hillenbrand, Chinook, Winamac and Willow Slough. Hunts will also take place at Salamonie and Mississinewa lakes.
The number of hunters allowed on each property will be limited. Interested hunters or adult representatives must register in person or by phone identifying the property they wish to hunt. Hunters should register between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time between March 17-21 or March 24-28. Hunters may register for only one property.
Hunters wanting to sign up for Fairbanks Landing and Chinook hunts may do so at Deer Creek FWA. Hunters wanting to sign up for Hillenbrand or Minnehaha hunts may do so at Goose Pond FWA. Those wanting to sign up for LaSalle may do so at Willow Slough.
At the properties where the number of registered hunters exceeds the spots available, a drawing will be held on March 31. A youth hunter may be drawn for either one or both hunt days depending on the number of applicants. All applicants will be notified of drawing results by mail. Applicants must possess a 2014 Youth Consolidated Hunting & Trapping License, a 2014 Non-Resident Youth Spring Turkey License with a game bird habitat stamp privilege, or Lifetime Comprehensive Hunting License. Apprentice hunting licenses of the types named above may also be used.
When registering a youth for one of the hunts, make sure to have the type of license being used for the hunt and the license number.
Hunts will run one-half hour before sunrise until noon at properties in the Central Time Zone and one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. on properties in the Eastern Time Zone.
Youth hunters selected for the hunt may check in at any time each day until the end of legal hunting hours for the property. Properties will not have a daily “no-show” drawing. Hunters interested in possible unfilled quotas at a property should phone the property for more information before showing up.
During youth wild turkey season, hunters younger than age 18 on the day of the hunt may take a bearded or male wild turkey. The youth must be accompanied by someone 18 or older.
The youth hunter may use any legal shotgun, bow and arrow, or crossbow. The adult accompanying the youth hunter must not possess a firearm, bow and arrow, or crossbow while in the field. The adult does not need to possess a turkey hunting license unless the youth is using an apprentice license or the adult is calling turkeys.
Phone numbers for information or to register at a specific property:Atterbury (812) 526-2051; Pigeon River (260) 367-2164; Crosley (812) 346-5596; Roush (260) 468-2165; Deer Creek (765) 653-0453 Sugar Ridge (812) 789-2724; Glendale (812) 644-7711; Tri-County (574) 834-4461; Goose Pond (812) 659-9901; Winamac (574) 946-4422; Hovey Lake (812) 838-2927 Willow Slough (219) 285-2704; Jasper-Pulaski (219) 843-4841; Salamonie (260) 468-2125; Kankakee (574) 896-3522; Mississinewa (765) 473-6528; Kingsbury (219) 393-3612.
To purchase a Youth Consolidated or Turkey license go to IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov.
For wild turkey hunting regulations go to dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/huntguide1/hunting1.htm, and for turkey hunting safety tips go to dnr.IN.gov/fishwild/hunt/turkey/turkeysafe.html.
‘till next time,