Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Coopers Hawk!!

I heard the thud from the desk up in the loft, where I was perusing Amazon for video games. A bird had hit the sliding glass door that leads from the living room to the balcony where we feed the birds. It was a heavy sound, but not particularly loud. Lisa was down below playing Tomb Raider. "Oh my God, a hawk!" she exclaimed, saying she had seen it out of the corner of her eye.

I bounced down the stairs. "Is it still there?"

It was, sitting in the crab apple just off the balcony. I fumbled with my camera, which I have started leaving in the living room, and finally wrestled it off the tripod. The way the furniture is right now (to accommodate our Christmas tree) there was no way to get the tripod set up where I could see the bird. I cursed at not yet having gotten a quick release.

I finally freed the camera and climbed up on the love seat, to get a few pictures of the young bird between the balcony rails and the birdbath.

Coopers hawk in our crab apple, after a glancing blow off our sliding glass door.

He stayed there for just a minute or two, then flew off to the right. I didn't think he'd gone far, and I was right--he landed in the dogwood on the west side of the house, right in front of the window. Too bad the screen is in!

Fuzzy shot through the screen.

But he didn't stay there long either. Much to my delight, he flew over to the red pine right across from the window, and sat there for five or ten minutes.

I love how the snow piled up on the feathers in front of his eyes.

Eventually I began to hear the cheeps of cardinals, and peeked out at the crab apple to see two females in the tree. He didn't seem to be interested, however, until something flew overhead. He cocked his right eye skyward...

..then twisted around to get a better look at someone flying past.

And then he was off!

I watched him fly past the balcony but he missed his prey, what I guess was a cardinal or dove--I only caught a glimpse. But he broke the hunt off quickly, and flew into the pines along our road, where I lost him. But what a treat to have such a good look at him, so close, on a snowy December afternoon.


  1. What a great encounter & opportunity! I certainly know the frustration when something fabulous shows up suddenly and you begin cursing yourself for not having brought the camera in from the car, from the den, wrong lens is on . . . You got some great documentary shots though. They are beautiful birds!

    1. When I was sorting through my birds photo files I was surprised at how few raptors I've photographed in the wild. Since the main point of taking bird pictures had for years to get subject matter for my art, it didn't much matter where they came from. Now that I am actually trying to document each bird I see, these hawk photos are priceless--even if the Cooper's is one I already have a "wild" photo of.