Monday, September 20, 2010

Backyard Cooper's Hawk

I was just finishing supper this evening and happened to look out the dining room window and spotted this beautiful Cooper's Hawk perched on the ground feeding tray. Cool!

It sat there for ages......long enough for me to grab the camera and sneak downstairs to the patio door to take all these pictures.

When no sparrows showed up at the ground feeder tray, the Coop turned around on the tray and looked towards the house. Doesn't it look like it's thinking, "Hmmmm, maybe there's some tasty prey lurking under that deck."

I was surprised as heck to see this Coop hop off the tray and start running towards me.

Did she say running? Yeah, I couldn't believe it either! Here's an action shot in mid-stride.
Still don't believe me? Well, I got a little video clip too! This Coop was probably only about 5-6 yards away from the house. It must have seen something interesting under the deck that was worth running for rather than flying. Isn't it cool to see this raptor up close? Looking all around in search of something to eat?

I never did see it catch anything, and it finally gave up and flew back out into the yard again. It perched on the trail camera for several minutes before finally departing from the backyard to search for a meal elsewhere.

This was definitely one of my most memorable raptor encounters in the backyard and I'm so glad I was able to photograph it. I hope this Cooper's Hawk continues to visit my backyard......I have a ginormous flock of house sparrows that definitely needs thinning!


~Molly~ said...

Wow!!! That is too cool!

KGMom said...

That was a LONG visit from the hawk.
I am amazed you had time to get the camera...

stephen said...

Magnificent views of the Cooper!!! Just from the thrill of reading about your encounter and viewing the images...I can only image just how exciting it must have been to be there and see this beautiful bird.
Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful experience with us.

forestal said...

wonderful captures, really interesting seeing it run.


Jayne said...

How cool Ruthie! I've not seen that many hawks here recently. Maybe once the cold sets in, they'll be looking for some juicy doves!

Taos Sunflower said...

Awesome! He's gorgeous. What an amazing experience. Thanks for that.

troutbirder said...

What a great post Ruthie. You sure do have some neat wildlife experiences.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Molly!

I know, Donna! I couldn't believe how long he stuck around too! I thought for sure he'd fly when I got in front of the patio door with the camera but maybe there was enough reflection off the glass that he didn't see me.

Thanks Stephen, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I know lots of people who feed birds don't like to have hawks show up in their yard, but for me, it's really a special privilege anytime a raptor visits the backyard--especially when I'm there to witness it.

Thanks Dan. I've never seen one run like that either, so it was very cool!

Thanks Jayne. Hoping you get some cooler weather soon!

Glad you enjoyed it Martie. I think he's gorgeous too!

Thanks Ray. I love my backyard wildlife habitat!

Bonnie said...

That is so cool!

Danielle said...

I love hawk leggings! you are so lucky with your yard!

Gaelyn said...

This is SO Awesome Ruthie! What a treat for you. Seems odd to see a Cooper running. Could it see where you were?

I saw a Cooper myself yesterday soaring over one of the many meadows.

Great captures and love the video.

Meggie said...

I'd never heard of a Cooper's hawk until I started reading your blog, Ruthie! Great shots!!

Mollie said...

What a treat--for you and your blog readers, including me! Could you tell me more about your trail camera. Is it on all the time or just when something trips a trigger? Is it like a webcam? Thanks.

Dave said...

That's a cool story Ruthie, Thanks for sharing.

LauraHinNJ said...

I've seen them chase things under bushes on foot like that... very cool!

dAwN said...

How exciting! I love the video.

Abraham Lincoln said...

She really gave you a lot of good poses to photograph.

Mary C said...

Wow, Ruthie! That is so cool. Heidi and I have gotten excited when a hawk (we think it was a Coopers) landed on the telephone pole and wires behind our little postage stamp backyard and it was perched for quite a while, too. BTW, I loved your video; who would have thought that a raptor would "wander" around like that.

RuthieJ said...

Thank you Bonnie.

Thanks Danielle. They're certainly beautiful birds!

Thanks Gaelyn. I was in the basement and it was dark and I was wearing dark clothes, so the hawk couldn't see me at all--I think that's why it came so close to the house. This was probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.

Thanks Meggie. Now you'll know what this bird is when you see one flying into your backyard!

Hi Mollie,
Trail cameras like this are mainly used by hunters for monitoring deer and wildlife activity. This particular camera is motion and/or heat activated. Some use infrared technology so they don't flash at nite, but this one flashes (infrared are more expensive). I think there are some that can transmit directly to your PC or TV, but this one doesn't -- it stores all the photos on a compact flash card. You can find out more information at

You're welcome Dave. Glad you enjoyed it.

That's so cool Laura, it was definitely a first for me.

Thanks Dawn.

Thanks Abraham. I was amazed at how long I was able to continue photographing too.

Thanks Mary. When I worked at WBU, there were always some people who didn't like having hawks in their backyard, but I think it's such a privilege to be able to see them up close!