Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Little Backyard Drama

I was sitting at the computer and checking my e-mail late this morning when I heard the loud and frantic calls of bluejays right outside the dining room window screaming "Danger" and "Hawk!" I grabbed my binoculars off the dining room table and crawled to the window (didn't want to frighten that hawk away if it was close to the house!) "Hmm, don't see see any hawks nearby," I sez to myself, "but those bluejays wouldn't make that much fuss for nothin'." So I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs for a more unobstructed view of the backyard and finally spotted the hawk. Can you see it?? (hint: look over towards the right side of the picture)
All the birds and critters love this wild thicket in my backyard, and it's a perfect spot for a hawk to perch and wait for some unsuspecting sparrow or junco to visit that tray feeder hanging nearby (far left side of picture).

Here's a closer zoom of the beautiful and patient Cooper's Hawk. It's a Project FeederWatch count day for me in the backyard and I'm always happy to be able to spot and count a Cooper's Hawk visiting my birdfeeders on FeederWatch day.

What a beautiful raptor. This photo through the double-pane glass patio door isn't as good as I would have liked, but when I was editing the photos, I was pleased to see that this bird's red eye showed up, so I could identify it as an adult.

Two weeks ago on FeederWatch count day, I counted 97 house sparrows, so this Cooper's Hawk is always welcome to help itself to as many house sparrows as possible!


Gaelyn said...

This is a very cool capture Ruthie and an awesome sighting as well.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Gaelyn. The bluejays get all the credit, if it hadn't been for all their fussing I never would have known the hawk was even there!

Carol said...

I love the big birds. Nature has a spot for them all...I try to.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

what fun having the Coop in your garden. It doesn't help with the feeder count though.

Anonymous said...

The hawk really blends in. Do they like to eat sparrows? Well, they can help themselves, if the jays don't give them away. Cool pics.


Jayne said...

Funny, but my Crows and Jays always let me know when I have a hawk too Ruthie! :c) ACK... 97 House Sparrows? Maybe you can entice that hawk to regularly patrol the yard?

RuthieJ said...

Hi Carol,
when I consider the number of raptors as compared to the number of songbirds, the raptors are at a distinct disadvantage.... They are truly welcome in my yard at any time.

Hi Lisa,
You're right about that.....when the Coop is there, it could be at least an hour before any birds show up back at the feeders!

Hi Mom,
The Cooper's Hawk will eat any birds I think....whoever is slow or not paying attention when the bluejays sound the alarm (mourning doves are a fairly common victim at my place)

Hi Jayne,
I don't think the hawk gets nearly as many sparrows as I'd like it to. You can see how tangled that thicket is where the hawk was sitting.....too thick for the hawk to fly into and that's where the sparrows like to hide out. I have another huge brush pile farther away that they can fly to also.....sometimes I see the frustrated hawk just sitting on top of that brush pile waiting for 1 stupid sparrow to fly out.

dAwN said...

Howdee Ruthie..
wow..that Coopers blends in nicely..I wish it had preferred a house sparrow diet...
not that I hate house sparrows..but u know what i mean....

Meggie said...

The hawk shows up exceptionally well when you click and enlarge the photo. Great shot, Ruthie!

Dave said...


troutbirder said...

Wow. That's a lot of sparrows. And in all the years I've never ever had a Cooper or Sharpie in my yard. Maybe having dogs romping about all the time might have something to do with it.
btw I did the Golden Eagle survey on Sat. and saw three! It was just great.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Dawn and yes, I know exactly what you mean about the house sparrows!

Thanks Meggie. I knew exactly where to look and I'm glad you were able to spot the Coop by enlarging the photo--it's camouflage works so well in that thicket!

Thanks Dave.

Hi Ray,
I see the Coop more often than I see the Sharpie, but don't often see them perched. Congrats on your golden eagle sightings.