Copyright ©2023 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DO NOT USE MY IMAGES WITHOUT EXPRESSED WRITTEN PERMISSION!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
For several weeks we’ve had a Cooper’s Hawk perching on a neighbor’s tree out back. With all the White-crown Sparrows, and Quail about I’m sure it’s hoping for a meal.
I’ve been enjoying seeing it perched there.
- Dashing through vegetation to catch birds is a dangerous lifestyle. In a study of more than 300 Cooper’s Hawk skeletons, 23 percent showed old, healed-over fractures in the bones of the chest, especially of the furcula, or wishbone.
- A Cooper’s Hawk captures a bird with its feet and kills it by repeated squeezing. Falcons tend to kill their prey by biting it, but Cooper’s Hawks hold their catch away from the body until it dies. They’ve even been known to drown their prey, holding a bird underwater until it stopped moving.
- Once thought averse to towns and cities, Cooper’s Hawks are now fairly common urban and suburban birds. Some studies show their numbers are actually higher in towns than in their natural habitat, forests. Cities provide plenty of Rock Pigeon and Mourning Dove prey. Though one study in Arizona found a downside to the high-dove diet: Cooper’s Hawk nestlings suffered from a parasitic disease they acquired from eating dove meat.
- Life is tricky for male Cooper’s Hawks. As in most hawks, males are significantly smaller than their mates. The danger is that female Cooper’s Hawks specialize in eating medium-sized birds. Males tend to be submissive to females and to listen out for reassuring call notes the females make when they’re willing to be approached. Males build the nest, then provide nearly all the food to females and young over the next 90 days before the young fledge.
- The oldest recorded Cooper’s Hawk was a male and at least 20 years, 4 months old. He was banded in California in 1986, and found in Washington in 2006.
Fun Facts gleaned from allaboutbirds.org
Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 24.1.0
more to come…