It was an exciting morning for birding here at The Hermitage. While getting ready for work, I noticed a red-shouldered hawk out my window, harassing a pileated woodpecker & chasing it around. I was astonished the hawk would go after such a huge bird (particularly as there was at least 100 smaller birds all over my backyard.) Unfortunately the movement was too frenetic to capture on camera, but here's a chipping sparrow & a goldfinch watching a few other birds heading for the brush;In the midst of the hawk excitement, I saw a couple of crows flying over my house, carrying nesting materials in their beaks. Unfortunately I didn't get them on camera, either, but here's some goldfinches, chipping sparrows, a female cardinal and a white-throated sparrow;As usual, a squirrel was pilfering sunflower seeds while the getting was good. Actually, it was unusual to only have the ONE squirrel, but I digress. He really perturbed this poor blue jay, who looked at me at one point as if to say, "Well...Are you going to scare him off or what?"I also saw a male red-bellied woodpecker (the photo didn't come out very well, as he was heading behind some leaves.) I haven't seen a male in months, so I was quite pleased. This cheeky little goldfinch kindly posed for me;There were also chickadees, tufted titmice, brown-headed nuthatches, doves & more of "the usual" cardinals around. Here are more chipping sparrows (there's usually at least 30 at a time out here during the Winter,) a white-throated sparrow and a female eastern towhee;The movement out back was constant & frenetic. We often have quite a few birds through the Winter, but today really seemed record-breaking. I suspect some of our Winter visitors are getting ready for their trip back North. It'll be hard to say goodbye to the goldfinches, sparrows & robins, but I'm sure they'll be back again next year.