Cooper’s Hawk

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I’ve always loved birds, but I was never the kind of serious birder that would spend hours in the field patiently observing birds.  I just observed them as I encountered them.  I remember the day a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk landed in my yard.  I really had no idea what kind of hawk it was–a red-tail was really the only hawk I knew.  Plus, identifying juveniles often throws me for a loop.  So I took the picture to a birder I know, and she immediately identified it for me.  “See the yellow eye,” she said, “that’s a juvenile.”

Then one spring I started regularly seeing a Cooper’s Hawk in the woods near my home.  I watched it catch a meal

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and observed a pair actively building a nest.

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Yes, it’s technically a horrible photo. But in terms of observed birding behavior, I love it.

That’s when I first became the type of birder that went looking for the birds and not just waiting for them to come to me.  I watched that pair of Cooper’s Hawks all through the nesting season.  It was wonderful to be able to go into the woods and almost be guaranteed that I would see them.

I didn’t see the Cooper’s Hawks nesting near my home in subsequent springs.  I still see them occasionally, but a sighting isn’t guaranteed every time I go into the woods.  Recently, I was doing dishes when my daughter asked, “what kind of bird is that–the big one?”  I was pretty sure she was looking at a cardinal or a blue jay, and was shocked to look out and see a Cooper’s Hawk sitting in our backyard.

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It’s always thrilling to see these beautiful birds of prey.  Although I think I appreciated it much more than the songbirds at my feeder that day!

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2 Responses to Cooper’s Hawk

  1. Crooked Tracks says:

    Interesting to know about the yellow eye, wow, you got some great photos here. Judy

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