accipiter (a hawk) gentilis (belonging to the same noble clan)
Sunday, July 6, 1980 — 7:15 am
McNaughton, Wisconsin — Mom and Dad’s house — Spider Lake
This one was fun. I was wandering around outside the house looking for birds. Off through the woods behind the house, I heard six or seven crows making a racket. I could tell they were mobbing something. I walked down through the black spruce bog in the direction of the noise, not knowing what to expect.
As I approached the lake, I saw a large bird fly up from the ground and land in a spruce about 25 feet away. I got a fairly good look at it through the branches for a few seconds before it flew away. The crows took off after it, cawing loudly.
Still being pretty new at birding (I’d been doing it for just over a year), I wasn’t sure what it was I saw. I went back to the house and pulled out the field guides. I thought it was probably a Goshawk, but I wasn’t sure enough to count it.
At 7:45, just half an hour later, I was outside wandering around again. I was suddenly handed the sort of opportunity that birders never get. It was deja vu all over again. The crows were calling down by the lake. I walked down to the shore. Again, from the same general area, I saw the bird fly up and land in a spruce, this time about 50 feet away. I managed to get a clear view, and now I knew what I was looking for. It sat in the same spot for about four minutes and then flew to a branch in the top of the very spruce I was standing under. It perched there for about 15 seconds, ducked a dive-bombing crow, and took off followed closely by the flock of crows.