The Travels of Tug 44

Cooper's Hawk

The Cooper's Hawk is relatively rare around here, I first spotted this, my first one in January 2017. He's about the size of a crow. This one is immature and will keep these colors until he reaches breeding age at 2 .. then his chest will turn light orange with white marks.   high-res

Cooper's Hawks eat mostly small birds which they catch on the wing and they will chase them right into heavy brush. Their wings are somewhat short and the tail is extra long, making Cooper's Hawks very maneuverable when flying thru trees.   high-res

In this view you see his back which looks like a typical hawk. He's now facing away from the wind so his feathers are getting blown around.   high-res

December 2017, I came home to find this juvenile Cooper's Hawk sitting on my porch railing, eating a sparrow which he probably got from my bird feeder. He was just outside my sliding glass dorrs and I was able to get within 5-6 feet of him. He refused to leave, and was ready to defend his kill. The haze in the photo is partly from dirt on the glass, and partly from the background snow being brightly lit while the bird was in shade. I took this shot thru 2 layers of glass.   high-res

And the very next day, I was out in the Fort Edward Grasslands and spotted this adult Cooper's Hawk at the edge of the woods, in a field of snow. All the dark debris on the snow is feathers which the Hawk had torn out of his prey.   high-res

The orange color on his breast indicates this Hawk is fully mature and of breeding age. A few minutes later, another bird swooped down on him, it turned out to be his mate.   high-res

The Cooper's Hawk is prepared to defend his kill from me, and he looks up at the sky after every single bite. He may be a predator, but there are larger birds that would like to eat him.   high-res

The Cooper's Hawk, a beautiful deadly predator.

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