Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hawk watch





On Sunday afternoon, we noticed a familiar shape in the pyracantha hedge along our backyard wall. It was a Cooper's hawk, one of the many we've seen lately in our backyard and around the neighborhood. I've written about the hawks before, as recently as last week, and more extensively a few months ago. These hawks are everywhere and their population is growing quickly. Apparently, every city park has a mating pair now, and as the lizard and rodent population grows, so does the hawk population.

I have a theory about the hawks and why they come to us. Our property backs up to an arroyo - a large concrete drainage canal, part of a vast city-wide network of them built to channel water downhill toward the Rio Grande, which runs through the center of the city. The arroyo creates a large open space behind our street. It's like having a whole city street removed, so it's quiet and it helps the mountain view too. It's wide open, with lots of low scrub plants and brush, which must make for good hunting and eating.

All of the hawks are alert and watchful, but this one seemed particularly crafty - he perched in the hedge directly beneath our wild bird feeder. I have to think this was deliberate. All the small birds flew away immediately upon his entrance, as they always do, and they stayed away, until long after he was gone. He must have sat there for fifteen minutes, just watching and waiting. We watched right back, from inside the house, and the Bear took these photos while we stared each other down. I think the hawks are getting more brazen lately - strength in numbers, maybe.

We're having more small birds visit lately too, since we got this squirrel-proof feeder over the summer. We've had many interesting birds this winter - finches, a curved-bill thrasher, lots of scrub jays, black-eyed juncos and flickers, all lovely colors and sweet song. But those hawks - they don't seem to rest. They watch and wait. They turn a sharp eye on anything that moves. They glide in and out like they own the place. They'd just as soon eat a hen as they would a mouse, so we're very careful. I hope they keep coming, though; I'm fascinated and a little unnerved as I watch them work, a few minutes of urban-woodland drama through the kitchen window.

20 comments:

  1. He's a beautiful bird.. but methinks he has nefarious plans for the visitors to your bird feeder. I think he's thinks it's a fast-food drive-thru. :-) ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  2. I wonder if he thinks the wee birds will come back to the feeder if he sits quietly enough? I suspect he'll have to wait a long time for that to happen!

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  3. he's a predator, so of cause he owns the place (just like cats do) but ohhh he IS beautiful & fascinating, lovely photos
    thanx for sharing

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  4. Scary - but beautiful and fascinating, too!

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  5. Bird watching is so interesting! That Hawk is gorgeous!

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  6. wow! At first I thought this was a stone decoration, so still!!! Incredible! Very good photos and beautiful (if not a bit scary!) Hawk! I did not know they had that outer colouring... incredible! I enjoyed reading about this! Thank you!

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  7. Oh, great pictures of an interesting bird of prey, Jennifer. He is a bit like our kookaburra, who also likes to catch live creatures as his diet. You have seen quite a selection of birds, most unfamiliar to me, but I do like a blue jay. Seen any cardinals lately?

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  8. Your beautiful photos and narrative remind me of how we feel about the blue heron who comes to visit our pond. He is so impressive to watch as he swoops in and then settles as still as can be standing in the shallow water hungrily watching and waiting...beware frogs, and ducks!

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  9. Great pictures. I know those little birdies are sure happy when the hawk makes its exit.

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  10. He is a beautiful bird but a bit scary at the same time. I think those little birds who didn't come back were very smart. Thank you for these fascinating pictures Jennifer.
    Blessings, Betsy

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  11. You certainly captured some great photos, I am a little in awe of your skill. I spend many a happy hour watching the birds and their goings on in my garden and as soon as I pick up the camera they are gone.

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  12. You speak so kindly of your hawk LOL. Your hawks have more red in them than ours do. We had a pair of Cooper's Hawks nest in one of our trees several years ago. It was fascinating to watch them -- they had three babies and we enjoyed watching them leave the nest. What I didn't enjoy that year though, was that we hardly saw any little birds or squirrels or chipmunks (which drive us crazy most of the time.) Those little critters know when to stay away! Have fun with your bird feeder!

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  13. While they are often seen flying overhead, I don't have hawks in the yard very much but a week or so ago I had a Cooper's Hawk. I went for the camera and he stayed still long enough for me to get a photo or two.
    A few years back I'd been feeding peanuts to the blue jays and that attracted a large Red-Shouldered Hawk who came and perched on a telephone pole at the corner. Well I was taking photos like crazy and got up right below him and I was wondering if he'd dive bomb me or something, lol...excited and scared at the same time :)

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  14. That hawk definitely looks like he is strategically placed. :-)

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  15. Hi Jennifer. I love your posts about the hawks and other birds in your garden - it's like virtual bird watching! The birds of prey I see are usually hovering over the nearby fields and I'd never think of them snatching a hen, thank goodness. There are only a few birds in my garden at the moment but I look forward to their return. Cecily x

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  16. I think I'd pass out from sheer excitement/panic if I came across an actual bird of prey in my garden - after I'd reached for the camera, of course. ;-) How wonderful to be able to observe this from your window. x

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  17. I love bird-watching! Great pictures of the hawk. How fun that they come so close and you can get good photos. I always get a thrill when I see eagles around here, but I can usually never get my camera ready before they're gone!

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  18. What a good looking bird. Birds of prey always look like they mean business, don't they. It's great that you can watch them in your garden.

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  19. Hi Jennifer! Hawks are around here, too. The eagles I saw in Washington were breathtaking (and the swans, too!)
    Such pretty photos today!

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  20. we get pigeons in our backyard... sigh... not quite the same...

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