It has been a good few days for hawks around here. Soon they will fly south, but not quite yet. This is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, grooming itself after rain on top of an old beaver’s lodge in the middle of my wetlands:

I mis-identified it as a red-shouldered hawk, but the moderator at Cornell’s eBird website kindly emailed me the right ID. A week earlier, a pair had been circling overhead, so this is probably their teenager, sulking alone in the middle of the pond.

A couple of days later, I looked out of my bedroom window at 7.15am, and there below me on the granite fencepost was another one, or maybe the same one (as the hawk flies, the pond and the house are only a mile apart):

It was grooming itself, but I only got one blurry action shot. Still, you can see its white fluffy leg feathers and long tail.

Soimetimes they are called chicken hawks, and I suspect that is because of their call:

Cooper’s Hawks are medium-sized hawks. Males (smaller than females) are 14-18in long, including the tail. At one point a turkey (bottom right) walked past, but it was far bigger than the hawk (top left), so they just ignored each other:

I was rather hoping that the name of the hawk had some obscure connection to wooden barrels and casks, but no, it is named after a Mr Cooper. Maybe his ancestors made casks?

Cooper’s Hawks were in trouble in the mid-20th century, probably because of DDT, but the population seems to have recovered and is now stable. They eat birds (often hunting round bird-feeders), and small mammals like chipmunks, which we have (had?) in abundance in our garden. They breed here, and may over-winter, though some fly south. This nest, high up in a pine, is typical, and could be theirs, but I am not sure:

I’ve also seen two American Kestrels, and a Northern Harrier, a Merlin, and three Bald Eagles, not bad for one week. None of the photos are worth showing you!

2 thoughts on “Hawking”

  1. Great to see so much wildlife. Photos don’t need to be Nat Geo quality. I have photos of Humming birds thru double paned glass that are precious…because they are the last photos of this Hummingbird season. American Kestrels are such beautiful birds…it’s great to see them hovering.


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