Meet the Neighbourhood Cooper’s Hawk

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It’s been a good week for co-operative, uncommon birds. Last week, I posted an article with many photos called Barred Owl in L’Amoreaux Park

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This morning, I had this beautiful bird in and around my backyard for over 3 hours.

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Anyone with a bird feeder will have this species as an occasional visitor…and it isn’t interested in the sunflower seeds.

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The Cooper’s Hawk is a member of the Accipiter family and its principal diet is other birds.

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Knowing this, I became concerned when a pair of cardinals landed very close to the concealed hawk.

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Can you spot the hawk by the crack in the fence?

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Strangely the hawk paid no attention to the cardinals who were themselves unafraid. There must be some truth to a recent suggestion that brightly coloured birds do not taste good. Whenever a house sparrow arrived, the hawk took chase but captured nothing this morning. Last fall, I wrote an article about the Cooper’s Hawk’s hunting habits called:

Murder on the Back Porch

 

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Later, a squirrel arrived to harvest some of our magnolia buds and he quickly chased the hawk away. The hawk soon returned.

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Cooper’s Hawks are crow-sized with long tails.

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As you can see, they are slate grey above and finely rust-barred below.

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The tail is rounded at the tip and this is a good way to differentiate it from the smaller, square-at -the-tip-of-the-tail Sharp-Shinned Hawk. The species was named after the naturalist William Cooper (1798 – 1864), one of the founders of the New York Lyceum of Natural History.

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A few days later, I found the hawk enjoying a sparrow meal in our snowy backyard.

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Miles Hearn

 

 

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