2 min

Cooper's Hawk Hunting Technique February 2004

(my Feb 21, 2004 blog post)

On Monday of this week, the snow depth in the front yard was still 2-3 inches. We've had snowcover since Jan 4. By Thu the temps were around 50. On Fri, it was 40-50 and it rained, wiping out the remaining snow. It got windy and colder overnight, and about a half an inch of snow fell early this morning.

The Northern Flicker was on the suet this morning. He's been an off-and-on visitor the past several weeks. The Red-bellied Woodpecker also visits at regular intervals.

I haven't seen the Hairy Woodpecker since early Jan or maybe in Dec. A male-female pair of N. Cardinals, maybe the same, usual pair, continue to visit often. But it's the Cooper's Hawk that's provided some excitement in the backyard over the past week.

I first saw a Cooper's in the area of our house last Nov or Dec. Deb saw the bird once or twice in the yard a few weeks ago. But I saw it in our backyard three times within a week.

My posting to the Toledo birding message board on Thursday, Feb 12:

For Christmas, we cut a Fraser Fir from a tree farm. In mid-January, instead of tossing the tree to the curb, I put the tree in our West Toledo backyard near the feeders, giving birds another spot to hangout in. For one bird, it wasn't good enough cover.

I looked outside this afternoon, and an immature Cooper's Hawk stood on the ground near the Christmas tree. The hawk then hopped up onto the bird bath, which was a few feet from the Fraser Fir. Then the hawk jumped into the Christams tree, disappeared, and finally came out the other side, landing on the ground with nothing in its talons.

The old Christmas Tree is still in good shape and provides thick cover, but it's soft. Some of the pine branches were moving, indicating small birds were hiding inside it. I couldn't see the birds.

The hawk jumped up on the bird bath and dove into the Christams tree again. This time when it came out the other side and landed on the ground, it had a House Sparrow in its talons.

The hawk stood on the ground for about minute, snuffing the life out the sparrow. After the hawk flew to a nearby oak tree, several House Sparrows bolted from the old Christmas Tree.

Through binoculars, I watched the hawk for a few minutes pluck feather after feather from the sparrow. The hawk then flew further away.

On Tue of this week, I saw the Cooper's lifting up from the back of the yard by the fencing. Then on Thursday, I saw the Cooper's perched in the small bush/stree in the middle of the backyard. A squirrel was also in the bush above the Cooper's, appearing to be giving the hawk the business. The Cooper's didn't have anything in his talons. He just sat there for a few minutes then flew away.

#home - #bird - #nature - #weather

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