Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tenacious Cooper's Hawk

With a two hour delay for school today, I took advantage of the extra time for some photography around Marshfield and Scituate. When I was leaving Peggotty Beach, a cooper's hawk landed on a telephone pole above my car. I grabbed my camera, opened my sun roof and he was gone. I missed the shot. I watched the hawk fly across the marsh lands and back towards the first cliff area. I was disappointed to miss the shot, but thrilled to see the bird.

Continuing my morning photo shoot, I went to see how Scituate Light looked across the harbor. The light at that point was pretty grey and flat so I turned around to head back to school. As I got to the top of first cliff, I saw my pal the cooper's hawk fly on top of a hedge less than twenty feet from my car. It was chasing a sparrow. Soon the hawk dove into the hedge after its prey. I never imagined a hawk would go into hedges after a sparrow.

The small, maneuverable sparrow easily escaped the hawk. The tenacious cooper's hawk didn't give up. It spent the next five minutes moving through the hedge looking for other sparrows. One of the sparrows nearly flew into my head as it escaped.

The hawk eventually left the hedge and flew down the road. I headed in the same direction hoping to catch a better view. This time the hawk was sitting in a tree surveying the local bird feeder. Finally, I made a decent image. After posing for a few frames, the hawk flew off to continue its morning hunt.

I believe this is a juvenile cooper's hawk. The rounded tail feathers and barred chest are classic cooper's hawk characteristics. The yellow eyes and the brown feathers on its head identify it as a juvenile. Adult cooper's hawks usually have red eyes.

This bird was very interesting. I hope that it eventually found something to eat. Even if it was a poor sparrow...

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