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A Hawk Visits My Patio.

December 3, 2016

Cooper’s Hawk

This past year I moved to a new place that has a privacy fence around a back patio.  I’ve set up a bird feeder and have a decent amount of birds showing up daily looking for food- more on that in next month’s post.

Two days ago, I saw a Cooper’s Hawk checking out my patio.  I got some decent pictures, and figured I’d share.




Cooper’s Hawks are a common suburban raptor.  I often see them flying low to the ground, trying to flush out birds from foliage.  They are silent and very acrobatic.  I’ve seen them stop and jump into a bush to flush out potential prey.  This one is an immature bird, told by the streaked breast.  Adults have finely barred reddish breasts.




This bird had scattered several sparrows when it landed on the fence, but it kept searching.  Little did I know, but a House Sparrow was hidden in the foliage down below.  The hawk seemed to sense this.




This magnificent bird just didn’t give up.  I kept taking pictures.



It prowled around on the ground- and then suddenly, the hidden House Sparrow took off like a shot- the hawk following mere inches behind it as they flew away through a stand of evergreens.  I never found out what happened.

The hawk makes a daily stop to check out who is at the feeder.  Birds have become more cautious in the area.  Squirrels of course yammered and carried on, letting everyone know something deadly was in the area.


13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2016 4:22 pm

    We always have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that when we feed the birds we’re feeding all the birds!

    • December 3, 2016 9:43 pm

      Exactly, Robert & Donna. I was struck by how when the hawk first arrived, several sparrows took off and it didn’t bother them- but it searched for the one hiding. My theory is that it is looking for sick or injured birds that it can more easily catch. I’ve had House Sparrows & Mourning Doves roost on my patio and it seems to me that sick birds would rather hide in the foliage than take off.

  2. December 3, 2016 7:28 pm

    Such beautiful photos of this magnificent bird! I love hawks; thank you so much. Such a treat to see these! I’m guessing you have a Canon; these are so incredibly clear!

    • December 3, 2016 9:41 pm

      Thanks Kitty! I have a couple of Canons, this was the more portable one I often use- my best camera was upstairs packed away. The day was cloudy so the pictures could have been slightly better, but I’ve taken a lot worse 🙂 But you are right, they are very good cameras!

  3. December 4, 2016 10:24 pm

    What a neat bird to see in your yard!

  4. mary permalink
    December 5, 2016 10:24 am

    Hi Tracy, what lovely photos! I have a weird Cooper hawk tale from this past summer. A friend who lives 1 1/2 miles away called me to say that there was an injured juvenile Cooper hawk in her back yard, and would I get it and take it away.
    I went over, but was unable to catch it. I told her that I’d return early the next morning, and if it was still there, I’d take it to Ohio Wildlife.
    Early the next morning, after taking the dogs for a walk, I noticed an injured juvie Cooper hawk in my back yard! Looked the same, acted the same (tilting its head, mostly walking on the ground).
    I threw some towels over it, and wrangled it into a cat carrier. Was this the same hawk, and it mysteriously flew from my friend’s house to mine, over a mile away?
    Wish I had a happy ending to the story, but unfortunately, it died at Ohio Wildlife; they thought it had probably run into a window and had neurological damage.
    I’ve noticed that they’ve taken over the neighborhood from the red tails. First it was red tailed hawks, then great horned owls, now it’s Cooper hawks everywhere.

    • December 5, 2016 4:47 pm

      Wow, what a story, Mary! What are the odds?

      Sad that the hawk didn’t make it- Ohio Wildlife Center does great work though! The last time I took a critter up to them was a skunk that was out in the daylight (usually a bad sign) and the skunk didn’t make it either 😦

      I’ve seen a Cooper’s chase a Red-Tail before. They seem to be quite energetic. Beautiful birds!

  5. December 17, 2016 7:31 pm

    Wow, great series. I have a longer telephoto lens on my wish list for more wildlife photography (the hawks are not coming right up to my patio)–partly from your inspiration!

  6. January 8, 2017 7:19 am

    A beautiful bird, Tracy, great photos of him! We have red tailed hawks in our woods; one greeted us the first day we moved here by circling overhead and dropping a feather at our feet. We have the feather above our front door.

  7. January 8, 2017 8:05 am

    Hi Tracy. You have some great photos of this hawk. I love that little tuft of yellow feathers above his beak. Friends of mine get a lot of owls hanging out around the feeders, probably because of the prey! Jane


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