Ames Free Library

"Where the Community Connects"

A Glimpse of Nature - Neighborhood Conflict

Neighbors don’t always get along, especially when they live in close proximity without sharing the same goals. Recently this has become apparent in the library’s neighborhood where noisy conflicts occur almost every day. Last Saturday the din could be heard inside the library building. Just listen:


 Why is everyone so excited? The presence of this animal is the cause.

June 2, 2022

In March when we last paid special attention to the red-tailed hawk, snow was still on the ground and things were quiet. Now, with resident and summer songbirds nesting and rearing young, the tensions have escalated. While these hawks eat many small-to-medium sized mammals such as mice and squirrels, they won’t pass up a vulnerable chick or fledgling. Hence, the distressed parents (and chipmunks).


The alarm calls heard above were recorded on May 27. On that day, an American robin confronted the redtail by swooping close by and making threatening chatter. In the image below, the hawk is calmly preening and even the robin seems composed, if alert.


May 28, 2022

The brief, 30-second video below shows a different story.


 In the freeze frame, one can see the startled hawk taking on a more threatening posture.

On June 1, it was the mockingbird’s turn.

June 2, 2022

Watch the agitated songbird dive bomb the redtail and, at one point, ram into it during this 1-minute clip.

With our attention focused on the birds’ behaviors, it might be easy to overlook the appearance of Oakes Ames Memorial Hall’s roof, but the roof was precisely what drew my interest on May 24.  Compare the two images below.


March 5, 2022  May 24, 2022

During March, the roof looked clean despite its use as a perch.  Several months later the whitewash stains are dramatic.  Drier weather might explain the difference, but heavier use is also a factor.  More than one red-tailed hawk uses that lookout.  

June 1, 2022

I am glad to see the hawks, though I might not feel that way if I were a songbird. They are part of the neighborhood, too, and they need to eat and feed their “kids.” The roofline of Oakes Ames Hall offers a fabulous perch with an unobstructed view for the hungry hawks . . . and a fine focal point for patrons to observe local bird behavior.  Take a moment to observe the spectacle and don’t forget to listen. Your ears will lead you to the activity.








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