Friday’s Feathered Friends- Cooper’s Hawk

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.

Cooper’s Hawk

Fun Facts-

    • 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…

Wordless Wednesday 7/52

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This Red-tail is from a couple of weeks back.  My friend and I were birding in San Luis National Wildlife Refuge and nearing the end of one of the auto-routes when we spotted it high in the tree.  I was driving and didn’t think I’d get a decent photograph of it because it was on the passenger side of the car/road, and climbing over the console and gear box wasn’t something I wanted to do.

Red-tail Hawk

We had the route nearly to ourselves so I thought I’d pull the car caddy-whompus across the road and shoot leaning into the passenger seat.  I was able to get several images of it before another car came up and I had to move.

It is striking isn’t it with its white cap and that gaze?

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 200-500mm VR| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2015

Red-tail Hawk with Prey

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Warning!: Some may find these images too graphic!

While birding a couple of weeks ago in the Sacramento Valley we spotted this Red-tail Hawk having lunch on a levy about 25-30ft away from us.  It spotted us too.  It didn’t like the way we kept staring while it was trying to eat so…
Red tail Hawk with meal

…it picked up its meal…

Red-tailed Hawk with Prey in Flight

…and flew to a tree stump that offered a bit more privacy.

Red tail with prey on tree stump

We watched it eat for a couple of minutes then slowly drove away leaving it to enjoy its meal.

The second image with the Red-tail in flight has a bit of motion blur. I was hand-holding the lens and not used to its weight and think it was me being a wobbly rather than a slight pan.  The eye is pretty sharp, and the blur gives it a sense of movement I like enough to save, and share it.

I was also racked out to 500mm and I didn’t frame up the shot giving the bird enough room to fly out of the frame, so I extended the canvas a bit then added in some of the background to give the bird some room to fly out of the frame, and fix the composition.  There’s a learning curve to  all new lenses; getting used to the weight, and bulkiness -it’s a chubby lens, and framing with it will be what I strive to master in the coming years.

I liked the lens so much I bought one right after I returned the rental lens.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 200-500mm VR (rental lens)| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015

More to come…