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Archive for the 'Hawks' Category

Can you find the Cooper’s hawk in this picture?

Cooper’s hawk hunting from a stump. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA.
coop dave harper oakley

I’m back! Hope you all have a nice Thanksgiving. I sure did. I suspect the lady hawk above had a pretty good Thanksgiving, too. Now … back to reality. /Gary

Posted on Monday, November 29th, 2010
Under: Cooper's hawk, Hawks | No Comments »

Cooper’s hawk feeds on it’s prey in an Oakland backyard

Cooper’s hawk feeds on pigeon in Oakland, CA, backyard. (Erich Hayner, Oakland, CA)
coop prey erich hayner oakland

This is a picture of my backyard Cooper’s hawk with his dinner (we have lots of pigeons). I’d spent all day at hawk hill scouring the skies for raptors with no luck. As I drove up my driveway, this guy popped down and made his kill right before my eyes (a first). Just goes to show, nature is everywhere!
Erich Hayner, Oakland, California

There’s so much “nature” going on in our backyards, I now call our backyards … “The Urban Wilderness.” /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Under: Cooper's hawk, Hawks, Pigeons | No Comments »

Red-tailed hawk stops by local backyard for a visit

Immature red-tailed hawk (Rita Freeman, Clayton, CA)
imm redtail rita freeman clayton

Dear Gary:
I had a beautiful visitor at my backyard pond last week, he was here most of the day.  As you can see, he let me get within a foot of him, it was quite an experience.  I’m guessing he is a red-tailed hawk. What do you think?
Rita Freeman, Clayton

Dear Rita:
Yep, it’s an immature (hatched last spring) female red-tailed hawk. How do I know she’s a female? Because of her size. Male red-tails are a lot smaller.

I’m guessing our recent heat-wave sent her looking for water and she stopped by your yard because of the nice pool. Songbirds aren’t the only birds that like to bathe and drink in backyard “bird baths,” you know. Being an immature bird, you were probably the first human she’s ever encountered, so she didn’t perceive you to be a threat. That’s why she let you get so close. Give her some time. After she gets to know us humans better, she won’t let one of us get within a mile of her.

I love our backyards. If you take the time to look around, you’ll discover LOTS of wildlife. That’s why I call our backyards the “Urban Wilderness.” Nice photo. /Gary

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2010
Under: Hawks, Red-tailed hawk | No Comments »

Northern harrier scans the ground below for prey

Northern harrier, male, hunting. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, California
male harrier, david harper, Oakley

Talk about “focus!”

This is a male Northern harrier (aka marsh hawk) hunting for rodents and birds on the ground below. Many thanks to Dave Harper of Oakley, California, for sharing this beautiful photo with us. /Gary

Posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2010
Under: Hawks | 1 Comment »

Vultures: The environment would be a stinky mess without these scavengers

Sharp-shinned hawk on car top. Photo by Madeleine Gallagher, Walnut Creek, CA
sharpie gallagher

Dear Gary:
I’m just learning how to download photos onto our computer and have some recent photos taken in our neighborhood in Walnut Creek.

The little hawk sat on my car for at least an hour. We think it’s a sharp-shinned hawk, based on the pictures in Sibley’s bird book. It is the second or third time a hawk (maybe this one) has perched there.
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Posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009
Under: Hawks, Raptors, Turkey vultures | 1 Comment »

This big lady sure knows what to do with all those backyard crows

Female Cooper’s hawk eating a crow. Photo by Bob Luis, Brentwood, Calif.
coop crow

I’ve been getting a lot of mail about crows in my column these days. Backyards are full of those big, black noisy birds. Most frequently asked question is, “What are we going to do with all these crows?”

Bob Luis of Brentwood, California, dropped me a note the other day, containing the above photo. Here’s what he had to say:
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Posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Under: Cooper's hawk, Crows, Hawks | 5 Comments »

Amazing video of a Cooper’s hawk on a clever hunt to catch a sparrow

In my last entry I wrote about a Cooper’s hawk in my backyard that used a sneaky, outside-the-box hunting technique to catch a sparrow on my bird feeder. Talk about small worlds! Here’s a video I just discovered of a Cooper’s hawk on a similar sneaky hunt, poking around on a patio until it gets a chance to fly up and grab a sparrow on a feeder from below!

This video was taken by YouTube user omniscientomar and used here under a Creative Commons license. He was feeding his 1-year-old kid (background sounds) while he took it.

Amazing! /Gary

Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: Cooper's hawk, Hawks, Hunting | 1 Comment »

Cooper’s hawks: Outside-the-box hunters in an ever-changing world

Cooper’s hawk by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Have you ever seen a Cooper’s hawk kill a mourning dove in your backyard?

The hawk usually comes diving out of nowhere to hit the dove with a huge splash of gray feathers. End of hunt.
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Posted on Thursday, December 11th, 2008
Under: Cooper's hawk, Hawks, Hunting | No Comments »