Readers’ wildlife photos

December 9, 2021 • 8:15 am

Today we have part two of Greg Stewart’s photos of Cooper’s Hawks (you can find part one here). His captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Here’s Greg’s introduction to the last set, which holds for this one:

Some time in 2011, a male Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) showed up in my backyard, attracted to birds at my birdfeeder in Orange County, California.  His injured left wing made him easy to recognize over the years. I raise feeder mice for snake food in my garage and soon began sharing some with the hawk.

He would disappear (migrate ??) in the spring and reappear in fall. Beginning in 2017, he stayed all year, found a mate and raised 3 young. This year (2021) is the 5th year he and his mate have successfully produced young here. Because he had adult plumage and a red iris in 2011 (Cooper’s Hawk eye color darkens with age), he could be 13 years old now. That’s pretty old for a breeding Cooper’s Hawk.

Preflight stretch:

The hawk soon figured out that feeder mice live in the garage:

Female molting into adult plumage:

Male hawk catches a nutmeg mannikin [also called scaly-breasted munia; Lonchura punctulata] at the birdfeeder:

Hood ornament!

Never able to eat in peace with mockingbirds nearby:

Young in tree, showing juvenile plumage:

Female calls to male to bring more food for the kids:

Male with small rat. Note drooping left wing:

Bad hawk! You can kill all the house finches, white-crowned sparrows and nutmeg mannikins you want, but not the song sparrows!

7 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. The other day I noticed a lot of little gray feathers on the hood of my car, and on closer inspection, a lot of fresh scratches in the paint. One of our Cooper’s hawks had apparently just had a nice breakfast. The only downer: my car is spiffier than yours.

  1. Wow, you’re lucky, and that last photo of you scolding the hawk shows that he’s comfortable around you. He knows where the mice come from. 😉

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