Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cooper’s Hawk-A Hunter is Born

1. in the woods-kab The Hunter in the Woods 2-18-12

On day 2 of the Great Backyard Bird Count this immature Cooper’s Hawk appeared in my yard. For the next 3 days it hunted my feeders without success.


2. staring-kab Watching 2-18-12



3. brush pile-kab Sitting on the brush pile where the sparrows like to hide 2-19-12


4. hunting-kab 

5. where are they-kab 


6. day 3-kab Cooper’s Hawk after it flew up into the tree 2-20-12

On Monday afternoon just as the small birds were starting to return to my feeders, so did the Cooper’s Hawk! I saw it perched on the logs of my woodpile as I was taking the laundry downstairs. I dropped the laundry and ran for my camera but when I tried to stealthily open the backdoor and stick the lens out the bird bolted for the trees.

7. coha-kab 

8. open mouth-kab 

9. looking-kab 

After watching it awhile I went back to doing what I was doing, which was sitting by the fireplace reading a book. When I went back for the laundry later I looked out the back window again. By now the sun had set and the light was dim and gray. I scanned the trees and the brush pile but saw nothing, and then, something moved beneath a branch!

10. window-kab I grabbed my camera once again, and this time I went into the spare room and shot through the double-pane window. I did not want to scare the hawk off its prey. I know how hard it is for them to be successful, and this young bird finally was. But…what was it eating? I tried so hard to see through my lens and with my bins, but in the dim light I could not tell.

11. feeding-kab 

12. dinner-kab 

13. tearing-kab 

14. wary-kab I left the bird to its dinner and I went back to my laundry,

15. warmth-kab my cozy fire, and my book.

In the morning I went investigating.

16. investigating-kabThe young hawk was perched on these logs when I first saw it out the backdoor. If you scroll back up and look at some of the close-ups from last night of the hawk on the branch you will see a bit of red dangling from its beak. I started to suspect that it may have already killed it’s prey and was eating it here but I did not notice it then.

17. evidence-kab Sure enough, I found feathers on the ground!


18. feathers-kab And more feathers in the leaf litter in the woods where the final pictures were taken.

19. feathers-kab 

20. feathers-kab It definitely ate a bird. I am hoping it was a house sparrow.

Though I searched and searched I never found any bones, legs, or a beak.

21. a hunter is born-kab I do not think it will be long for this young hawk to become an expert hunter…

leaving only feathers behind.

22. feathers remain-kab  A Feather Remains

(Note: I do not think this is from the same bird that was killed last night. This feather was with a few others underneath the feeders on the side of my house and I think it may be from a mourning dove.)

World Bird Wednesday

I wore myself out this weekend doing the Great Backyard Bird Count. If you click on the link and go to the home page you can see some of the results. If you want to see how your state ranked, just click on the “Explore the Results” Button to see State Tallies and the Top Ten Lists. I always have fun doing the GBBC. This year I submitted 21 checklists and added 2 new bird species to my yard list when a mallard and a rock pigeon flew overhead. Happy Birding Everyone! Now I’m going to take a break…if I can! See you soon!


  1. Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  2. Great pictures and post. It is amazing what these hawks can do to catch the birds.

  3. Wonderful images and a lovely post to read.. Of course the bird images are nice to see.. but as I sit here typing this comment I can't resist going back to view your fire..
    I am now feeling warm...xx

  4. Gary, I probably could have published fewer photos but it always so hard to choose which ones to cut! Thanks for stopping by!

    Bill, it sure is. Fun to watch too and amazing that I get to see this even though I live in town!

    Andrew, I just came in from walking the dog and it is STILL cold out there! Guess I need to fire that thing up again! Okay...I'm going to boil the water for some tea now! Thanks for dropping in to say Hi! You would be welcome at my fire anytime!

  5. Laurence, thanks! It's fun! I like being a nature detective!

  6. Great collection! I love the birds and envy you this cozy fireplace:)

  7. Great photos of the hawk. They are beautiful birds - but I really don't want raptors of any kind hanging around MY backyard!

  8. Great captures of the Hawk, Kathie. I like seeing the hawks, but would prefer they find somewhere other than my yard to dine. Have a great week and happy birding!

  9. Great photographs. It would be better if that Hawk went somewhere else Kathie.

  10. Joo, that cozy fireplace helps me get through the winters here! I love it too!

    Mick, LOL! apparently you are not the only one who feels that way! They need to eat too though!

    Eileen, it seems you, Mick and Roy are all in agreement!

    Roy, thanks! I am sure it will not be here for long.

  11. It is Now a hunter. Mine kept hanging around a couple days too but I didn't see it have any success. Your shots are great! I still have two sightings to list.

  12. great pictures kathie...and investigative work!

    really beautiful shots of the hawk! what bright eyes!

  13. Great set of shots; and such a lovely bird.

  14. Great series of photos. And persistence on the part of both the young hawk and the photographer (who I assume also got the laundry done) :)

  15. Great post! I love the way you tell your stories; they are so fun to read! The Cooper's Hawk is beautiful.

  16. Wonderful post Kathie. How wonderful to see such drama played out in your own back yard. These are fabulous photos, a complete novel in pictures! WOW!

  17. Hello! I am so glad you found me through Denise's blog! Thanks for commenting on my mailboxes post! I was just enjoying this wonderful Cooper's Hawk post! You were able to get so many amazing pictures of him! I have a Cooper's Hawk (and a Grey Hawk also) that feed in my yard, or at least try to. As you say, they aren't often successful. They usually kill the doves. I have had a few posts about the Coopers but I never get great photos. I need a much better camera! :-) Thanks for coming by. I will definitely visit you again, and hope you will do the same.

  18. This is a fascinating post about this hawks killing/feeding activities. Well done for all this.

  19. Those are modo feathers..I too always hope for a HOSP and it is usually a modo....I love the series.. I admire raptors...

  20. I just realized that me with birder with a whole 8 years under her (ever expanding) belt was telling you something..I am apologize for that.. Michelle from rambling woods

  21. Your observations always make my day. These are some stunning shots.

  22. Hi Kathie

    What a great series of shots. As you say the hawks have to eat too and it is always interesting to see not just birds but their behaviours as well.

    All the best.

  23. Gaelyn, thanks! and I hope you got those counts in!

    Laura, I thought you might like this post! I thought of you when I was out investigating the feathers!

    Holding moments, yes, it is a pretty bird...pretty impressive!

    Marie, thanks for coming over to say Hi and your wonderful comment! I will indeed come back and visit you again.

  24. Troutbirder, lol, yes I did but it has already piled up again!

    Tammy, thank you SO MUCH for saying that! I love to tell stories! It is always nice when someone appreciates them!

    Springman, I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope my post wasn't too long for you. It was hard to edit the photos. I really did want to tell the whole story!

    CubeyPoet, thanks!

    Ramblin Woods, thank you for the confirmation. I always appreciate insight. I still have so much to learn myself and identifying feathers on a bird is much easier than identifying them off! Do not ever be afraid to tell me anything. I will never be offended by someone's kindness!

    Sandy, thank you for saying so!

    Guy, behavior is as important as idetifying the species. I love it all, though I too get sad sometimes to see a little bird or any other animal die.


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.