Last January, a Cooper’s hawk snatched our neighborhood feral African Collared Dove, “Hoover” off of the roof of my studio and ate him, then quickly left the vicinity. It was sad, but we told ourselves at least Hoover’s nutritional content probably fueled the hawk’s migration back to its breeding grounds. Again, we were sad that Hoover was gone, but after all it is what doves are for — turning seeds into hawks.
This afternoon, I caught this adult Cooper’s hawk lurking on a limb of the African Sumac right off the back porch, apparently freshly back to the winter spa of our yard. If I were given to anthropocentrism, I would say its expression was optimistic. If I were accipitercentric, I would say it was recalling a fine al fresco lunch it had enjoyed at this establishment last season, and was checking to see if the fall menu had been posted.
<< Cooper’s hawk eyeing the snack bar (photo A.Shock)
Of course, I have absolutely no proof it’s the same bird. But it’s not impossible. Given this bird’s proximity to the studio where it (allegedly) had had success previously finding a succulent snack, I would even say it’s not unlikely. Especially since the huge mesquite tree that in the past has been the favorite perch of hunting Coops fell over this monsoon season. Although part of it is still standing, it’s been reduced to two spindly branches, and offers little shelter for an optimistic snatcher of yard-birds at the feeders, who now might have to employ other vantage points.
So, maybe this is the same Cooper’s that returns to our yard each winter. I hope so: it warms the pragmatic portion of my heart to think that Hoover’s cells have made it back here for another year, even if in a different, fiercer form.