"Eric! Eric! Come quick!"
Eric, egg in hand, comes running "What?"
"There's a hawk on our deck! Right there! On the back of the chair!"
Trapped under a twin, with no camera at hand, I urged Eric to grab the video recorder. That thing starts up so sloooowly! Meanwhile, the hawk jumped onto the deck and then up onto a pot. Clearly he was looking for the local fauna that hang out at the All You Can Eat Hatchet Bar.
Seeing no likely snacks around (Not even a mouse.), it hopped up onto the rail and then took off for the neighbor's yard, clearly hoping to find some clueless-yet-tasty birds that hadn't yet taken off at its arrival.
I feel certain that it was a juvenile. It just didn't move with all of the grace and power of an adult raptor and wasn't very large, either. Now, using the tiny video clip and my new bird book (Thanks, Linda!), I'll see if I can't figure out what it was.
What was the most unusual animal you've come across in your backyard?
Updated to add: I think, from the video, that it is a Coooper's Hawk. Definitely an Accipiter - its tail was longer than its wings, with even bands of light brown and dark brown and white trim at the bottom of the tail, which appeared rounded. It appeared to have speckles of white on its back and its chest was streaked. The head looked more like the Cooper than the Sharp-Shinned, from the drawing in the book.