Oh yes they call him the streaked (boogie-dy-boogie-dy)
Thursday September 22nd 2016, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

Today is equinox, I thought, glancing up at the emptied bird feeder; if I want the Cooper’s hawks to keep claiming territory (if they were even still around) I’d better give them a reason to, and with that I got up and filled the thing.

Finches above, a small flock of mourning doves below, showing up out of nowhere almost instantly; that’s more like it.

Then this new guy did, very much to my surprise.  Yes! The harassing ravens were thwarted this spring after all! A successful fledge!

I have never seen his parents do what he did. It made me wince a little for the trees we cut down a few years ago–but we had no choice at the time.

If bushes are all there are there then bushes are where the prey is, and so after standing sentry up there awhile, the juvenile Cooper’s hawk suddenly dove straight down. Towhee tartare, anyone?

That’s a lot of bird to fit into a lot of small spaces. It was clear he’d judged the fit first.

He zigzagged around on foot back there, popping out then back in again. He circled the baby mandarin tree (the lighter green). He did actually flush out a cowering finch but it managed to get (or lucked out on having) nuisance branches in his way first and escaped. As he followed it, his attention fully to my left, a squirrel I hadn’t known was cowering under the picnic table to my right slunk carefully away towards the large fig and raspberry pots. The trees that direction were far enough away that it had no chance should it be spotted making a mad dash across the yard.

It was not.

We had a young’un here who needed a good meal to live long enough to learn better how to land a good meal. Late September? Maybe the parents were still keeping an eye out for it, maybe not.

He went back to the fence, staring, walking down it, looking for more. He seemed not the slightest afraid of me as I lifted the phone again and again, hoping for a shot that would at least show something, like those brown wavy streaks down his white chest that told the world of adult hawks not to bother him, that he’s just a kid. He flared his striped curving tail, clarifying his family for me once and for all: Cooper’s, not Sharp-shinned.

Whether he’s claiming my longtime Coopernicus’s territory or just hanging around where he grew up because he’s too young to have set out on his own yet, we’ll find out.

But he definitely made my day.

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His very distantly related cousin swooped over me while I was riding through a woody bit in a local park on Monday. She landed on a tree just ahead so I could admire her streaked chest. I thought of you and Coop!

Comment by twinsetellen 09.23.16 @ 7:43 am

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