Monday, October 15, 2007

Cooper's Hawk Visit

Yesterday as I was sitting at the dining room table, I was lucky enough to glance outside at just the right time to see the Cooper's Hawk stop by for a visit.

I have this really nice fly-through feeder (purchased at WBU) mounted on my WBU Pole System in the backyard. Yesterday afternoon, there were quite a few little finches and sparrows dining here when all of a sudden, the Cooper's Hawk flew down and landed on top. (Note: I like this fly-through feeder because the brackets holding the roof prevents crows from getting inside to pig out on seed and now I know it also keeps the Cooper's Hawk from getting in to eat little birds!)

Of course, as soon as the hawk landed on top, all the little birds underneath flew quickly to shelter in nearby shrubs and trees. It was so funny to see the hawk walk across the top of the feeder and look down under the doubt trying to figure out a way to get down there.

Hmmmm....I know there were birds here a second ago.

Why can't I see them anymore?

I think I hear some over in that big viburnum shrub....

I was so excited to get the chance to see this in my backyard (even if the photos are a little blurry from through the window). Usually the hawk flies in so fast and leaves again before I even get a chance to grab for the camera.


Robin (Bumblebee) said...

What amazing timing that you could be there to see the hawk. I usually just hear them in the spring. Their call sounds like something from a rainforest.


--Robin (Bumblebee)

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Robin. It's a good thing it was too chilly to have any windows open because I jumped up from the table and shouted, "it's the hawk! where's my camera?" Fortunately he didn't catch my movement through the big picture window because he was concentrating on the little birds.
I'm pretty sure I've never heard the call of a Cooper's Hawk.

Larry said...

What a great capture! I hate it when I'm too late with the camera.

Lynne said...

That's so cool Ruthie! I think it's so special to see hawks in the yard. It speaks well of the habitat you've nurtured in you yard.

Ruth said...

I must say I feel a little sorry for the hawk. But you don't want your feeder to become a fast food outlet either. Good pictures!

Maud said...

How cool pictures!

Jayne said...

Isnt' HE just magnificent!!! What wonderful shots Ruthie.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
I'm thinking this probably will never happen for me again, so I'm glad I was able to get some pictures.

Hi Lynne,
Usually the hawk doesn't get this close or stay out in the open. The apple trees are just behind this feeder and that's where he usually flies to.

Hi Ruth,
I think the hawk occasionally finds a meal somewhere in my yard judging by the little piles of feathers on the ground I find once in a while. I can spare an occasional sparrow or house finch to help feed a hawk family. I don't think his presence is frequent enough to keep the birds away from the feeders and there's plenty of cover for little birds to escape to.

Thanks Maud. I considered myself very fortunate to get these 4 pictures in about 30 seconds.

Hi Jayne,
He is a fantastic bird!

I'm glad you guys all understand that hawks need to live too and are as excited as I am to see one. I know a lot of people don't like hawks in their backyard, but there are so few hawks when compared to songbirds, so I think it's such a privilege anytime we get a chance to see one in the wild--especially this close!

Carolyn H said...

I love your hawk shots! Especially the one when it's looking under the roof as though it expects the little birds to still be there. Maybe the cardinal sculpture is acting as a decoy.

Carolyn H.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Carolyn H,
Welcome to my blog. I'm glad you stopped by to see my Cooper's Hawk too. That was my favorite shot also--the way it's head is cocked you can just sense the puzzlement!

Mary said...

Great Ruthie! I had to laugh at Ruth calling it a potential "fast food outlet" :o)

I love him looking under the roof for a game of hide and seek! LOL!

Love your feeder system!

Susie said...

Hi Ruthie,
Glad your Cooper's Hawk was eating bird seed. When ours visited in Aug, he ate two baby birds. I felt so bad listening to the poor mama bird crying.
(I posted a picture of him Aug 2)
Are they unusual to your area?

Trixie said...

YAY! What a great set of shots. Working that problem with his raptor brain.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mary,
It was interesting he landed on the feeder--he usually stays around the trees or shrubs. I guess all those little birds that had been there were too hard to resist.

The attachment on my pole system is the trident. Amazingly enough, I have never caught the squirrels up there yet (the cages are around the tube feeders to keep the grackles away).

Hi Susie,
The Cooper's Hawk is a year-round bird here in my backyard. Since I'm at work too much of the time, I'm not sure how frequently he's in my yard, but on the weekends I usually see him fly through about once a day.

Hi Trixie,
He figured it out pretty quick because about 2 seconds after I took the last picture, he flew away. Pretty cool visit, though.

mon@rch said...

Congrats on having such a wonderful bird at your feeder! I think the shots are great!

Mary C said...

Hi Ruthie - Wow! You sure captured the moment. How exciting. Now how did you know it's a Cooper's and not a Sharp-shinned? I'm still confused when I see one of them - which isn't very often - probably once every three years.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Mon@rch--I consider that a great compliment from someone who takes really awesome pictures!

Hi Mary C,
For me, the most reliable thing to go by on Cooper's vs. Sharp-Shinned is the size. Cooper's is crow-sized and Sharp-Shinned is closer to Rock Dove sized. You can also tell by looking at whether their tails are rounded or squarish at the bottom, but in this instance, the bird on top of my large feeder made it easy to identify by size.
(I also have a good field guide on identifying hawks & owls that I refer to regularly.)