For years now, there has been an elusive winged creature out back. I’d thought I’d seen a large hawk dozens of times, but it was so fast that I could never get a really good look…
It’s not like when one flies across an open country road and perches for all to see on top of a telephone post. Our backyard abuts a dozen other backyards, all wooded, gardened and spectacularly green, so a bird, even a large one, can stay camouflaged…
Earlier this summer, I’d gotten a pretty good look at it swooping over the alleyway between houses. And then last week, I was witness to it swooping down to try to snag a squirrel off a tree. No lie. The squirrel was a bit too big and skittish for the hawk to grab, but it was a gutsy attempt and certainly left my eyes round with surprise! The squirrel proceeded to squall in shock for about half an hour, (to the displeasure of my sensitive ears), an acorn still clutched in its mouth, completely unharmed but scared out of its wits…
So, I’m making coffee this morning and looking out into the sunny backyard. I see something! Is it what I think it is? Is it the bird! I tear off up the stairs faster than Tiddo the cat on one of his running rampages, snatch up my camera and fly over to my bedroom window. First time I really saw it as not just a flash of wings, but as a sedentary creature! And let me tell you, it’s a big one. Larger than I thought. He (or she) is living off of chipmunk, bird, bunny and squirrel meat. These backyards are no slim pickings for this fierce hunter…
Can anyone take a guess at what I’ve got? Perusing the pages of my North American bird book, it looks like it might be a Cooper’s Hawk, but I’d love your input! I’ve definitely been hearing a hawk’s strong kak-kak-kaking call all summer long. (You can listen to a voice recording of a Cooper’s Hawk on its wikipedia page here). Cooper’s Hawks are uncommon, live in wooded areas, and are newly removed from the Illinois endangered species list!
I’m no expert so I don’t want to comment on the species, but isn’t a joy to watch Mother Nature’s creatures going about their ADLs (activities of daily living)! I keep water out for the animals, but I don’t always have the camera handy when I witness something like your experience. Great photos even through window!
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Thank you! I still can’t believe I caught view of this bird sitting on a fence after all this time!
Yes! A Cooper’s Hawk it is. I have seen them any number of times in my own urban environment, and that is precisely their mode of behavior.
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Thank you! Awesome! It is even possible that there are more than one in the area. Perfect place for them to hunt, and take cover in the trees! Lots of little animals for the feasting.
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