Cooper's Hawk!

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Ray Dunakin

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I had a very cool encounter yesterday with a young Cooper's hawk. While driving on a busy road not far from home, I noticed an object on the sidewalk. Just as I was passing I realized it was a hawk, just sitting on the pavement right next to traffic! Obviously something was not right so I pulled over and ran back to where he was. Turned out it was a young hawk, near-adult but still unable to fly. Sure enough, there was a nest high in the tree overhead.

Well, I couldn't leave him there. There was no brush for him to hide in, and he could have easily ended up in the street and been run over. So I caught him. Kept clear of the beak but could not avoid the claws -- ouch! They certainly have a powerful grip, and my hand ended up feeling like a pincushion. But it was worth it to keep him from possibly being killed. Not to mention being cool as all get-out to be able to actually hold such a magnificent creature!

My wife wrapped him in a towel and helped me pry the claws from my hand, then we drove home and put him in a cardboard box. Called Project Wildlife, a local animal rescue organization, and they had me bring him in to their facility where he will be fed and cared for until he can be released back into the wild.

Cooper's and the very similar "sharp-shinned" hawks occasionally hang out near our feeders, hoping to catch sparrows and other small birds.
 

sandman

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I had a similar experience with a Sparrow Hawk, now called a Kestral (falco sparvarus).

In actuality they are not hawks but Falcons.

It was injured when someone cut down a tree and it got caught in the branches.

The person kept it in a tiny cage not big enough for it to even stand upright. I did all I could to keep from beating the guy! So I took the bird away from him. He insisted that it was a "Chicken Hawk":confused: A WHAT!!! LOL!

Some people watch too many cartoons.

The local animal control people told me to keep it in a much larger cage, gave me vitamins and a recipe for food with some instructions to help rehabilitate it.

After only a few short days it was ready to fly away...trouble is...it wouldn't leave...I had to chase it away.

The next day when I got home from work it was on my favorite lawn chair waiting for me.

It was startled when I came near it and flew into a nearby tree. I had some food for it so I walked under the tree waiving the food at it when a buddy showed up at my house and asked me what I was doing.

"Feeding my Sparrow Hawk" I said...

He said "What?"

Just then the bird dropped down from the tree and did a remarkable thing.

It hovered, flapping it's wing tips gently right over my extended hand for about 5 seconds, snatched the meat in it's talons and flew away.

My buddy was left standing there with his mouth open.

I could post pics...if I can find 'em.

sandman
 

Gus

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Ray,

I had a friend who spent one college summer banding baby Cooper's Hawks in Washington state. Went with him one day to watch. The game plan was to spot a nest, scare off mom, climb the tree next to the one with the nest, then start the tree you'd climbed rocking til you got close enough to grab the tree with the nest, and tie the two off with a rope. Then you could lower the chicks to the ground in a sock on a string, where they'd be weighed, photographed, and banded, then hauled back up into the tree, and put back in the nest.

Since the nests were usually over 100' up in an old growth pine or fir, the whole activity was hideously dangerous, which is why, I suspect, they got young people to do it. ;)

From all of us who have had the good fortune to see one of these magnificent birds in the wild, thanks for saving one Ray.
 

Ray Dunakin

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Originally posted by sandman
I had a similar experience with a Sparrow Hawk, now called a Kestral (falco sparvarus).
In actuality they are not hawks but Falcons.
The local animal control people told me to keep it in a much larger cage, gave me vitamins and a recipe for food with some instructions to help rehabilitate it.
After only a few short days it was ready to fly away...trouble is...it wouldn't leave...I had to chase it away.
Cool! I'm surprised they let you do it yourself.

When my wife was a kid, she and her brothers raised a baby barn owl to adulthood, then her dad taught it how to catch mice. For a long time after they released it, it stayed near their home. After the moved, the folks who moved into their old house said that sometimes they'd see a barn owl come to the window at night.

Just then the bird dropped down from the tree and did a remarkable thing.
It hovered, flapping it's wing tips gently right over my extended hand for about 5 seconds, snatched the meat in it's talons and flew away.
Too cool!!!
 

Ray Dunakin

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Originally posted by Gus
I had a friend who spent one college summer banding baby Cooper's Hawks in Washington state. Went with him one day to watch. The game plan was to spot a nest, scare off mom, climb the tree next to the one with the nest, then start the tree you'd climbed rocking til you got close enough to grab the tree with the nest, and tie the two off with a rope. Then you could lower the chicks to the ground in a sock on a string, where they'd be weighed, photographed, and banded, then hauled back up into the tree, and put back in the nest.

Since the nests were usually over 100' up in an old growth pine or fir, the whole activity was hideously dangerous, which is why, I suspect, they got young people to do it. ;)
LOL! This one's nest was at the top of a very tall, slender eucalyptus, about 6" wide and no branches for the first 30 feet or so.

From all of us who have had the good fortune to see one of these magnificent birds in the wild, thanks for saving one Ray.
Thanks. I love wild critters. I've often chased snakes, lizards and even tarantulas out of the road to prevent them being squashed. Had one large, obstinate tarantula that wouldn't "shoo" out of traffic, so I let him crawl onto my shoe and carefully walked to safe location. By then he'd climbed up to my thigh!
 

Fishhead

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One of my other hobbies over the past twenty years has been finding and photographing covered bridges and advertising barns whereever and whenever I get the chance. On one of these trips back in 1988 I was driving down a narrow country lane out in Brown County, Ohio, on a beautiful, sunny fall afternoon. I had the windows down and the sunroof open, and as I came around a bend I encountered a large hawk sitting on the guardrail with a fresh kill. He spread his wings, opened his beak and fixed me with the most frightening stare I've ever been on the receiving end of. He was absolutely huge, well over six feet from wingtip to wingtip, and all I could think of was him swooping down and hoisting all 200 pounds of me right out of that drivers seat. I couldn't get the windows and sunroof closed fast enough. Still there are few things that will bring me to a complete stop than the sight of a large bird of prey catching a thermal. Wild turkeys are an amazing sight too. They look just like they do on the whiskey bottle.
 

sandman

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Cool! I'm surprised they let you do it yourself.
They asked me to do it. They said all of thier cages were filled with songbirds.

sandman
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by Ray Dunakin
Had one large, obstinate tarantula that wouldn't "shoo" out of traffic, so I let him crawl onto my shoe and carefully walked to safe location. By then he'd climbed up to my thigh!
No way man. I think I woulda had to break out the can of RAID! The most action I get here in Florida are Palmetto Bugs (aka flying roaches), silver fish (wierd looking), and other nasties that I combat regularly. Every now and again we get to see some interesting wildlife on the golf courses. The best has been a 7ft alligator sunning near a fairway! :eek:
 

Elapid

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hawks are fairly easy to catch with the proper incentive (caged mouse with nylon fishing line nooses tied all over the outside of the cage...heavy gloves are a must.)
;)


i was driving home one day when i spotted a blue jay standing in the road. i pulled up next to it, opened the car door, picked the bird up and set it on the passenger seat. it must have gotten hit by a car or something, cuz it just stood there on the seat.

by the time i got home, it had recovered and needed to be let out of the car!
:D

it was the funniest dang thing...
 

BlueNinja

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Hawks are cool, so are all raptors pretty much. In Great Falls, MT, I saw a family of kestrels flying around in the trees, right by a museum. Lots of em in KS too, i might have a pic of one.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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Found this thread looking for something else.

Fun trivia: Kestrels can see well into the UV spectrum. Which is useful because it lets them see mouse urine. They'll look for the glow of a mouse-hole, then "hover" by flying into the wind, waiting for one to come out. Kestrels are amazing flyers, too. Small but shockingly strong.
 

Bat-mite

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There was a red tailed hawk sitting on my neighbors' split-rail fence the other day. We watched it out the window until it flew off. I'd never seen one sit on something so close to the ground before.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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There was a red tailed hawk sitting on my neighbors' split-rail fence the other day. We watched it out the window until it flew off. I'd never seen one sit on something so close to the ground before.
Redtails will sit happily on a fencepost as long as there's something interesting to watch/hunt and they don't feel threatened (e.g. by a human coming up) or it's getting dark. Hawks' vision is amazingly good during the day, but terrible at night, which is why you often see them perched on high posts or billboards in the late afternoon - they like to find somewhere safe to spend the night, away from potential predators.
 

smugglervt

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Had this immature bald eagle snag a huge crow and settle down to eat in our back yard a couple of years ago.

Eagle 1.jpgEagle 2.jpg
 

ksaves2

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I got to soar with eagles or perhaps a turkey buzzard or two when I flew R/C sailplanes. I never tried to horn in on a thermal with a circling hawk already in it, but I've circled in a thermal with my sailplane by myself and had a hawk fly over and enter the thermal with the sailplane. Was kind of hard to see at a distance but if sure looked a few times that my sailplane and the hawk were at the same level circling across from each other. That was cool. Kurt
 

boatgeek

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Last Christmas Eve a Cooper's or sharp-shinned hawk took one of the feral rabbits that live out at my office. The hawk was out there on the patio for a good couple of hours nomming away on an animal the same size he was. Eventually, he dragged the remains under a shrub. The great circle of life...

Years ago, we were on an Audubon bird walk in one of the bigger Seattle parks. The guide said they'd seen a barred owl in one of the ravines, so we went that direction. Sure enough, we rounded a bend and there was the owl in a tree at eye level about 8 feet away. We all got a good look at him close up before he flew across the ravine. You could tell real fast that this was a bird not to mess with--lots of long talons and a very sharp beak.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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Last Christmas Eve a Cooper's or sharp-shinned hawk took one of the feral rabbits that live out at my office. The hawk was out there on the patio for a good couple of hours nomming away on an animal the same size he was. Eventually, he dragged the remains under a shrub. The great circle of life...

Years ago, we were on an Audubon bird walk in one of the bigger Seattle parks. The guide said they'd seen a barred owl in one of the ravines, so we went that direction. Sure enough, we rounded a bend and there was the owl in a tree at eye level about 8 feet away. We all got a good look at him close up before he flew across the ravine. You could tell real fast that this was a bird not to mess with--lots of long talons and a very sharp beak.
Yep, I've worked with a few barred owls. Not as powerful as a Great Horned Owl, but still strong enough to make things very, very unpleasant for you. My wife can do an uncannily accurate barred-owl call.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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...and just because I love this picture:
Back when I had free time and volunteered at a wildlife center. This was during the annual Renaissance festival; me with a gyrfalcon.
10401135_28059584302_5513_n.jpg
 

MikeyDSlagle

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I honestly didn't think anything ate crows Lol
It's cool you folks were able to help the birs, and allowed to at that. I've done some reading on becoming a falconer, lots of stuff to know there. Not sure about the other states but here in Louisiana (pretty sure its Federal) owning a raptor is tightly regulated. You have to have a license for one. And you can only have certain birds at certain levels. Can only have birds for educational purposes and hunting, not as pets. You aren't even supposed to have a feather from a raptor. Pretty stiff fines too. Not training to rain on the parade, just saying...be cautious. It's a bit like rocketry. 3 levels, each with more benefits than the previous. I think owls are a "level 3 (master)" bird, as are the eagles. I think there are only 3 Masters in all of Louisiana.
Kestrel are one the few raptors that can hover, I think. All the raptors are awesome birds. It really gets my goat when people curse or even shoot a "chicken hawk". Idiots, and esp if they don't even have chickens.

I see Kites flying around on occasion, its a bit unusual because we live 100 miles inland. Now I am told that when I see a Kite, I am supposed to report it.

Mike
 
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boatgeek

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One of the best ways to spot a raptor is to look for a mob of crows dive bombing something. There'll be a raptor in there somewhere. Osprey can hover too, hence the name for the tiltrotor plane.

A friend of mine had a license in Minnesota to rehab red tailed hawks. She had a lot of good stories, but the best one was when one of her birds was out on the lawn. New neighbors with a husky puppy had just moved in. The dog saw the hawk and thought it might be fun to chase the birdie. Not a good idea. :) The dog came right up to the hawk and was barking at it. The hawk just stood on one leg, stuck the other one out, and grabbed the dog by the nose and let go again right away. Dog runs right back to momma. Later, the owner came by and apologized for her dog disturbing my friend's "exotic bird." My friend barely had the heart to tell the neighbor that a) the hawk wasn't disturbed, and b) red tails are everywhere.
 

ActingLikeAKid

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I honestly didn't think anything ate crows Lol
It's possible that the crow was already dead or close to it - juvenile balds are voracious scavengers. Adults, too. Great Horned Owls will destroy crow nests and eat the young. Crows, though, are really smart and work in groups. If you suddenly hear a bunch of crows yelling, there's a decent chance that they're mobbing a predator.

It's cool you folks were able to help the birs, and allowed to at that. I've done some reading on becoming a falconer, lots of stuff to know there. Not sure about the other states but here in Louisiana (pretty sure its Federal) owning a raptor is tightly regulated. You have to have a license for one. And you can only have certain birds at certain levels. Can only have birds for educational purposes and hunting, not as pets. You aren't even supposed to have a feather from a raptor. Pretty stiff fines too.
Precisely this, Federal Migratory Bird Act covers most raptors, and yeah, not so much as a feather. When I volunteered at the wildlife center pictured above, we'd collect feathers from our eagles and give them to the Dept of the Interior for distribution to Native American groups for ceremonial use. When I would do educational programs, "How much for one of them?" was almost as common a question as "Are they real[1],[2]?" And even in the UK, where you can (at last check) buy some birds of prey as pets (there was a HUGE problem with people buying owls after the Harry Potter books/movies came out) ... it's not something most people are ready for, and certainly not something to take lightly. Birds of prey need a substantial outdoor enclosure that has to be cleaned regularly. They need to be fed, and if you're squeamish about handling dead rats, don't bother. They need LOTS of attention and time and care. They faster than you can fathom and many are really, really smart.
If you're interested, I highly recommend spending some time volunteering with a reputable wildlife center. Working with these birds close up is profoundly rewarding, and improved me immensely.

[1] Birds of prey are particularly good at not moving. Flying takes tons of energy, so they conserve every bit they can. They're quite content to sit very very still. Also hawks and falcons' eyes are almost immobile; owls' eyes are completely immobile. That means that they move their heads to look around. The motions look almost robotic to us, but if you look at how your eyeballs move when you look around, there's a lot of similarity there.
[2] My favorite response, "Yes. They are real. They fly and they eat and they poop."

As for becoming a falconer, yeah, it's actually a lot like Level 3 - you have to catch your own bird (you know, like building your own rocket). You have to apprentice with a master falconer (you know, like a technical advisor) and you have to pass a couple of tests - first, you have to get a hunting license, then you have to take a falconry-specific test.

...and don't get me started on owls.... ;)
 

MikeyDSlagle

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Dang crows! We used to hunt them in the off-season when all the other hunting seasons were closed. Now there is a season on them that runs concurrent with duck and dove, so of course we no longer hunt crows, and the population has exploded. We can still shoot them if they depredate on crops and a few other reasons, but we can't actively hunt them. I've seen them lay in fields for weeks because nothing would eat them, that's what I meant. They are so smart it's annoying and problematic. But why tear off wiper blades? They are getting thick around here and wake me up scratching around on my roof. Then I wake the neighbors with a Benelli. Lol

I would still like to get into falconry but it is a huge commitment, not sure if I have time. It would be wild to hunt with one though.
 

soopirV

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I fished this little guy out of our pool last week, a little Elf owl, we think(fully grown!). My wife saw it slip off the negative edge where it was bathing, and I found him bobbing in the water below, too wet to fly. Glad I had the foresight to grab gloves, his talons, while small, looked razor sharp! He did NOT want to get off my hand! Best part is, he/she continues to visit! We see it almost nightly hanging around, and last night was perched back on the wet edge...must be a guy, my wife said, since he didn't learn his lesson. DSC_0057.JPGDSC_0059.JPG
 

Barkley

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Got this photo of a Cooper Hawk at my family's cottage near Algonquin Park in Ontario. Now I know why there were so few chipmunks and deer mice that year.

 

ckjohnson

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So let me prelude this with an explanation. For the past three months I have been watching a hawk family with three eyas (baby hawks) in a nest. They reside on a lamp pole in the park near my house. The pole is about 70' high. I would send my Phantom 3 Pro up to see how they were doing. I always maintained a good distance away from them as I did not want to disturb them. They never so much as flinched while my drone was up there. The last time I went up there, I climbed up to 400' so that I could set a center point for a point of interest (where drone circles a point while keeping the camera on the point). I dropped the center point, and noticed in the camera that one of the hawks took off. I looked up to make sure I wasn't bothering him, and he flew up near the drone. As soon as he did that, I realized he didn't want me there and flew the drone away because I didn't want to stress them. Later that evening, I wondered if I had actually caught any footage of the hawk on the camera. I was rather surprised to find that he had actually attacked the drone. Needless to say, I don't fly up there any more. Not because I'm afraid of him attacking the drone, but because I do not want to stress them. Now, I just watch them through the long lens on my DSLR.


Hawk 3.jpg
 

ckjohnson

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Here's the video of the hawk going after my drone:

[video=youtube;YklD9QmpOzU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YklD9QmpOzU[/video]
 

Zeus-cat

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My wife and I went to a nature preserve earlier tonight and saw four Screech Owls being released by the local raptor center. One "got away" as the woman was taking it out of the cage. Two more were released by her helpers as planned and the fourth needed a little encouragement from its helper before it too flew away. The last one flew up into the nearest tree and then just sat there. I would guess about 150 people showed up for the release and the raptor display.

They had also brought along some of the injured owls who are permanent residents and can never be released into the wild. They had two more Screech Owls, a Barn Owl, a Barred Owl and a Great Horned Owl. We learned that unlike mammals, the female owls are usually the larger gender. They need to be larger as they are typically the ones that defend the nest.
 
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