I was sitting at the dining room table this afternoon working on a lace patterned knitting project that requires lots of natural light. With 4 inches of new snow last nite, it's been a busy day at the birdfeeders right outside my window. Without any advance warning from the bluejays, a Cooper's hawk flew in to try and catch some dinner. It landed in the big oak tree right near all the birdfeeders. Woodpeckers had no warning and had to "freeze" wherever they were until Cooper's finally flew away hungry again.....
This is a first year Cooper's Hawk -- you can tell that by its yellow eyes. (Adults have dark rusty-red colored eyes). It's cold out there, so the Coop kept one foot tucked up into its tummy feathers for warmth.
Poor little Downy Woodpecker didn't even have time to fly away and was just barely able to duck down behind the deck railing and hang on by two toes, hoping desperately that the hawk wouldn't be able to spot her.
Here's where the Cooper's hawk was perched in the tree in perspective to the Downy woodpecker on the deck railing. Distance is approx. 10 yds. The majority of my birdseed and suet feeders are concentrated in the area outside my dining room windows (for best photo ops!) and there are at least a dozen feeders on the deck and hanging in trees all around this big tree where the Cooper's hawk is perched.
I believe there are a nesting pair of Cooper's Hawks in our neighborhood. I feel privileged to be able to see these birds up close. The ratio of Coop's to songbirds is probably 1:200 in my backyard, so if they need to hunt here, that's fine by me. I see the hawks fly into the backyard several times a day (if I'm home to watch them), but I believe the majority of times they fly away without ever catching anything.