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A first year Cooper’s hawk…

immCoopPapPole…is bent on both mayhem and mischief.

She was lurking at the north entrance to Papago Park early Saturday morning, in the low spot where the White-crowned sparrows, House finches, and Mourning doves are usually found in great numbers on chilly winter mornings.  She even swooped over our heads on her way up to the top of the utility pole.

(Right, first-year Cooper’s hawk in Papago Park, Accipiter cooperi; photo E. Shock)

But just after E snapped this telephoto, the Coop’s glimpsed more grandiose prey: she started the sparrows, but flew right over them.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen a bird-specialist like a Cooper’s hawk chase a full-grown Black-tailed jackrabbit, but this bird did, and kept after it for ten or twenty seconds, as the jack zigged and zagged evasively until the Cooper’s pulled up, empty-fisted.  What do you suppose she thought she was going to do with it if she caught it?  immCoopPapFenceShe either had an inflated idea of her own skills, or was a very hungry bird: no matter how spry a flyer, she can’t have been that good a footer!

(Note: Cooper’s hawks weigh 8-21 ounces, and jacks weigh 4-6 pounds!)

This hawk was bent on causing trouble: here’s a picture of the same bird a few minutes later, on the felon’s side of the fence, trespassing on clearly signed military property.  Scofflaw!


(All photos E.Shock)

Click here to view another picture of an immature Cooper’s hawk in Papago Park that E took this spring.

Posted by Allison on Nov 22nd 2009 07:44 am | 3 Comments
| View birds,field trips,natural history,Papago Park category

3 Responses to “A first year Cooper’s hawk…”

  1. kate mckinnonon 22 Nov 2009 at 8:16 am link comment

    Excellent. I was enchanted by a dove wing under my tree yesterday, sure sign of the local Coop.

  2. Allisonon 22 Nov 2009 at 8:49 am link comment

    Kate, I know you’ve got a regular Cooper’s on your street (and a crabby-sounding lurking thing she is, too), but heads up: there’s a wintering Merlin often seen in Reid Park, and he could be sloughing dove-wings as well.

  3. kate mckinnonon 23 Nov 2009 at 10:04 am link comment

    A wintering Merlin! How excellent it would be to see him. Namesake of my eldest son, Liam Merlin.

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