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Subject:O Raptor! Hawk and sparrow encounter...
From:Alt, Mark
Reply-To:Alt, Mark
Date:Tue, 15 Mar 2011 11:11:05 -0500

As I was walking into the Plymouth Congregational Church at Franklin and
Nicollet in Minneapolis yesterday for a rehearsal of Gilbert &
Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance", some motion caught my eye, so I lifted
my head to see a House Sparrow buzzing along about 50 feet over the
church roof, heading west, with a Sharp-shinned Hawk below and behind
it, just clearing the roof ridge of the church. The Hawk accelerated
upwards with a choppy, stiff-winged, rowing motion. It took about 3
seconds for the hawk to be within 5 feet of the sparrow. The sparrow
then twisted, turned and veered down to the right, towards LaSalle
Avenue - the hawk swooped to remain below and rolled to take the bird in
a single left jab. The hawk then rolled back to right itself, but with
the bird in its extended foot, it corrected too much and as it flew out
of sight, it was rocking back and forth on its horizontal axis, but with
dinner in its grasp. Extreme cool beans for all involved, excepting the
sparrow, of course...

Mark Alt
Brooklyn Center, MN
Hennepin County

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