On the morning of Feb. 8, 2012, I heard a 'thump' at the back door. Upon investigating the noise, I spotted a hawk approximately 34-36 cm long (beak to tail) approximately 4.5 meters from the door. It looks like the same hawk I've observed for a couple of months now, inscribing wide, lazy, slightly over-lapping circles, way up high over the houses across the street.
The hawk had under it's claws a what looks like either a starling or a large sparrow (?), still alive and faintly struggling. I could not determine what, if any, coloration there was on the underside of the prey. The hawk would sporatically 'knead' the now squashed breast of the captive bird beneath with it's strong feet as it observed it's environment. I guess, for a soaring hawk, being on the ground for any period of time is not safe.
All the while the hawk had it's head on 'a swivel', it perused the area--an almost pointless exercise since the only creatures that dared 'romp' in the backyard at this point were some some doofy young squirrels intent upon raiding the hanging bird feeders while all this drama was taking place.
It certainly is not my intention to provide 'too' easy 'pick-ins' for the hawk here with my 'birding', but I also realize that all must eat and this is nature's way. Having watched this hawk sweep over large 'search patterns' of land from the water's edge onshore in search of food, I did wish it would eventually come close enough for me to photograph it.
Finally I had my chance with this beautiful Hawk Sighting here in Stamford, CT Feb. 8, 2012 right outside my back screen door (which is why these photos are a little fuzzy). After standing on it's prey like this for about 8 minutes, the hawk suddenly soared up in flight due NNW, climbing at an angle of approximately 38 degrees. Please, if anyone can definitively identify this species of hawk (and it's prey) email me at BarbaraKSexton@aol.com