This young bird, which my husband and I believe is a juvenile Red-Tail Hawk, has been a frequent visitor to our back-yard bird-feeding station for a couple of weeks. It is probably hoping to score a meal of a small bird. We have a winter brush pile composed mostly of branches which have fallen this season from our pecan tree. This picture, which my husband took one day last week, shows the hawk perched on a branch in that pile. Many small birds visit our yard for seeds and suet and drinking water every day, especially during the very cold weather. They often shelter in the brush pile during adverse weather conditions. The hawk must have noticed the frequent visitors and thought to take advantage of them. It’s interesting to see how those smaller birds protect themselves. They take turns keeping watch from outer branches of the pecan tree, ready to sound the alarm if and when they spy a marauding predator, be it of the winged or four-footed variety. When that alarm is sounded, they all take off for shelter in dense shrubbery at the edge of the property. Our little cockatiel, who is housed in a large flight cage near an inside window which looks out across the back-yard, always sees the hawk when it arrives. His warning shrieks are better than a fire siren and we always know when the hawk (or it could be a dog or cat or skunk, or possum or raccoon) is checking out the back yard. We try to balance the bird-feeding process with the need to provide adequate shelter for those birds which are attracted to the food source.