Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bird Eater at the Bird Feeder

This Cooper's hawk must have gotten bored waiting for my neighbor to open up her chicken coop this morning.  It perched on the same limb as one of my bird feeders, patiently hoping for a feathered breakfast to present itself.

1 comment:

  1. Nice shot - it brings to mind the Cooper's which has been stalking my chickens for weeks now, having killed one about a month ago. I had chased it off, feeling badly that it didn't get to eat after all that work, but figured that if I let it have it's catch, it would continue to stalk my flock all the more relentlessly.

    Something interesting I've been noticing is that the Cooper's seems to have a very different strategy than the local red-tailed hawk. The latter tends to perch sedately for long periods, high up in the open, on a main branch or snag, awaiting any opportunity, whether that be a chicken or some hapless wild animal. The Cooper's, on the other hand, restlessly moves from one tree to the other, circling the outskirts of our yard, staying low and well camouflaged in the branches, as it specifically stalks our chickens.

    Over the years here, the Cooper's hawks have been the more brazen, much more likely than the red-tails to attempt an attack even when people are out in the yard. This is interesting, because the Cooper's is not large enough to carry off a chicken - it has to stay and eat it in situ. This could be totally wrong, but I get the sense that the red-tails can recognize there is a connection between chickens and people, while the Cooper's don't seem to know they are more likely to be chased away by a human from a chicken than from some other type of prey. Or maybe it's that the Coopers are quicker, and feel confident they can make a clean escape from a human.