This regal creature is a sharp shinned hawk. I saw one like him in my backyard Wednesday. He had captured a pure white pigeon, and was in the process of eating it when I walked outside. He saw me, and tried to fly with the pigeon, but only made it a few feet, since his prey was nearly as big as he was.
I went inside for my camera, and he was still there when I came back out. I crept closer and closer to him, and although he was aware of me, he continued to eat. Only when I was within eight feet of him did he fly away, leaving his pigeon in my yard.
I asked my son to dispose of the pigeon, and he came inside to tell me that there was a band on its leg. We got the information off the band, and I went online to see if I could find the owner of the bird. I discovered that it is a racing or homing pigeon, and using the letters and numbers on the band, I found the name of the club the pigeon belonged to. I emailed the club secretary to tell him about what had happened to the beautiful bird, but haven't heard anything back yet. The pigeon racing club is based in Louisiana. I wonder if the pigeon flew such a long distance? I don't know a thing about homing pigeons, but I seem to remember that they can find their way home from a very long distance. I'm so sorry that this one met his demise in my backyard.
The pictures in this post are not the birds involved in my backyard adventure, but they look exactly like them. Aren't they wonderful?