My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Feeder Terror

Published February 22, 2013
Tags: My Feeders, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Common Redpoll, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco

There's been an accipiter terrorizing the songbirds at my feeders for 4 days now.  I finally had a chance to get a much better look at him or her today and I'm pretty confident the predator is a Cooper's Hawk; the alternative being a Sharp-shinned.

The reason I think Cooper's is because the shape of the head appears a little more square-shaped and the overall size was at least that of a crow. Sharp-shinneds have rounder heads and are a little smaller.  Of course, females are typically larger, so a female Sharp-shinned could be the size of a male Cooper's.  I didn't get a chance to study the tail feathers nor the legs (heavier or thinner). I've yet to claim a Sharp-shinned, so I'm no expert - but I'm going with Cooper's unless someone points out otherwise!

Today, the raptor swooped through the back feeders while I was working. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a rush of motion and quickly grabbed my camera. My suspicions were correct; the hunter was back.

Finally, the very last window I searched from, showed the hawk in a nearby spruce.  His attack was apparently unsuccessful (I'm sure to the immense delight of the American Tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, American Goldfinches, Common Redpolls, and Pine Siskins that were dining there just a few minutes earlier!).  I was able to quickly grab a few decent photos of him, albeit handheld and through a window with some glare.  I think he saw me, he seemed to look right at me - and, therefore, didn't stay long.  Besides, he was still hungry: off he gracefully flew, seeking lunch at someone else's feeders!

Did you know a Cooper's Hawk repeatedly squeezes its prey to kill it? It's been known to drown its prey too.  Cooper's Hawks (and Sharp-shinned) usually hunt small birds - and while the Cooper's Hawks are agile flyers through thick vegetation, a recent study found that 23% of those birds had healed chest bone fractures (aka the wish bone or furcula). Who knew?!
bird photo
Cooper's Hawk
bird photo
Cooper's Hawk
bird photo
Cooper's Hawk
bird photo
Cooper's Hawk
Reply from: Barbara Lomas on 3/2/2013 10:15 PM
 Your pictures are fabulous. I have never seen a great horned owl and what a treat. Oh, that preditor hawk-poor little birds tohave that to deal with.