Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome September

Wasn't it great to have a 3-day weekend? I was so happy to just stay at home for the majority of each day and have the chance to watch out my windows and see what was going on with birds in my backyard. I glanced out the kitchen window on Saturday morning and saw this:

What the heck is that? I thought to myself, because my mind was telling me it wasn't a bunny just laying in the grass. So I grabbed the binoculars for a better look....... Holy Cow! It's the Cooper's Hawk! Have you ever seen them just laying in the grass like this before?

I wondered if it was injured or maybe was sitting on top of something it had killed, but when I tried to open the window to get a better picture, it heard me and flew right away. I will turn this unusual hawk behavior over to Susan, the raptor expert and see if she has any insight on what this hawk was doing.

Here's what I think is the same hawk cooling off its toes and tail feathers in one of the birdbaths also outside my kitchen window. While the depth of water in this almost empty birdbath is ideal for chipping sparrows and house finches, it's quite inadequate for a Coop, although it appears he/she was trying to make the most of the resources available. This picture is a little clearer than the ones above that I had to take through the kitchen window....for this picture, I was able to crawl out onto the deck and snap the photo using the side of the house as a blind. The deck is not very hospitable for crawling on bare knees, but I was happy this picture turned out great on the first try because the Cooper's Hawk eyesight saw me after about 3 seconds.....bye-bye!

We enjoyed summer-like temps (with highs in the 80's) for the entire weekend. However, a front is coming through tomorrow and will bring us some rain and then, finally, some lower temperatures (daytime highs in the low 70's and down in the 40's at night). Hooray! Welcome September!


Lynne said...

Ruthie- those are such COOL pictures!! I've seen robins laying on ant hills in my yard. I wonder of coops do that? You're lucky to have been able to watch such neat behaviors!

I'm ready for fall, rain and cooler temps. Bring it on!

BTW- The yarn store near my house is closed. :(
But your link that you emailed to me has another one in Osseo (not too far) I'm going to call this week!

jan m said...

What great photos! The coopers that I've seen in my yard swoop down, go in for the kill, then they're off. I rarely have a good look.

Susan Gets Native said...

An anting Cooper's hawk? Hmm....possible, but I would have to guess that he or she was cooling off.
It is also a possibility that it needed to rest or regroup after a chase.
If it flew off with no difficulties, it's probably fine. If you see it faltering in the next few days call a raptor center.
I've seen other birds lay in the grass like that during hot days, so that's my guess.

Anonymous said...

What a great experience with a Cooper's Hawk. I've never seen anything like that before, but then we don't see many Cooper's Hawks. I have seen Mourning Doves do this in wet grass, maybe cooling off?

It was a nice weekend for us too. Ethan had his 1st birthday party on Sat. David came down Sunday and went home after lunch today. School starts tomorrow for your Dad, so starting tomorrow it's get up early again [5:15 AM] UGH!!


Jayne said...

Huh... who knew? I've never seen a hawk do that. Cool photo Ruthie! :c)

RuthieJ said...

Hi Lynne,
It was so weird seeing the hawk do this--I thought maybe something was wrong with it, but I'm glad it was just resting.
Too bad about that yarn store! It's nice to have a place close by if you're a new knitter and have some questions or need some expert advice.

Hi Jan,
I've been fortunate to see this Cooper's Hawk sitting still on several occasions. It still swoops in too, but it's neat to get some longer looks at them too.

Thanks a lot Susan. I thought anting too at first. I tried to isolate the spot in the yard where I thought it was sitting, but couldn't for sure. I was glad it flew away and appeared to be OK.

Hi Mom,
I'm glad you had a good weekend.
Sorry you have to get up so early--if it would help, I can give you a daily wake-up call because 5:15 is when I start working! :-)

'Who knew' is right Jayne! I'm glad I just happened to catch this hawk doing something unusual.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun having the Coop in your garden. We haven't seen them much in our garden this summer. We miss them. They nested in the trees across the street last year. Now that was fun to watch.

I have never seen one lying on the ground without prey in its talons. Hmmmmm. Just having a rest I guess.

Ruth said...

Glad you had a restful weekend with good weather. We did too. That is most unusual Coopers behaviour.

KGMom said...

If you have had higher than norm temps, I don't blame the hawk for cooling off.
I hate hot days--I'd be there on the grass with the Coopers hawk.

Debbie said...

Very interesting photos. I especially like the one of him/her cooling her toes.

Mary C said...

Ruthie, that sure had to be an exciting moment or two. I know I would have been excited. It's good that you were able to catch that Cooper's hawk through photos. Thanks for sharing.

Marsha said...

How cool are these shots! I don't know if I have ever even seen a Cooper's hawk before and to see one cooling off in your birdbath and yard is wonderful!

Julie said...

Great pictures of the Cooper's Hawk. Mom and dad get one in their yard, but not till winter when they're struggling for food.
We had a hot 3 day weekend too. 90's, but then today the high is in the lower 70's and I don't think it got out of the 50's yesterday. Visited grandma over the weekend and ran, ran, ran. But we did visit an area lake and I saw a ???? (I tell you I suck at identifying birds) green heron and then I stopped at two wildlife areas on the way home. Saw some more pelicans, great egrets and some cormorants.