Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Bad News At The Feeders

One day last week, I heard the Blue Jays screaming like crazy outside.
I though gee, did they eat all those peanuts already!
Then I realized it was their alarm call!
 
I looked out the window and saw this perched on the fence!
 
 
I thought gosh that's big, I grabbed my camera in case it was something "good",
then it turned around...
 Well, it was something good alright, but not so good at the same time.
 
 
 A Blue Jay was taken early in the autumn, just a few feathers left on the ground.
I suspected a hawk, but I didn't see the predator. 
On this day, I saw it.
 
 
 Bad news at the feeders.
 
But what a magnificent bird, bold and beautiful...
and it's a lifer for me.
 
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

The hawk has taken two birds (that I know of), from our yard in a week.
 
I have pondered over taking the feeders down for a while (as suggested by Cornell) to discourage the hawk from using them as it's own personal smorgasbord. But, I'm not sure if that would solve the problem. Although we live in the suburbs, within 2-4 blocks in all directions, we are surrounded by a conservation forested area, a river, and 6 "kettle lake" ponds in an Environmentally Significant Area with forests, wetlands and marshes... so, I expect that more than one hawk will be cruising the area.
 
For now, Hubber's and I are busy constructing some new brush piles, and a roosting box or two for the songbirds to take cover in.
 

61 comments:

Gail Dixon said...

Oh, Karen!! Marvelous job on the photos!!! I really love raptors, even though I hate how they stalk bird feeders. Their beauty is just undeniable, though.

Phyllis Oller said...

beautiful shots! I love raptors ,such beautiful birds,thanks for sharing,phyllis

Tyche's Minder said...

A little chilling to see it at your feeders, I'm sure, but great pictures.

Sylvia K said...

Your photos are fantastic, Karen, but I can see what a problem you're facing!!! It is indeed a little chilling to see him at your feeder!!

Joop Zand said...

WOW....AMAZING these pictures it's a beautiful bird Karen.

Greetings, Joop

Linda W. said...

Wow - nice shot of the hawk. It's like he was posing for you. Too bad about him hanging out at your bird feeders, though.

Dave said...

Stunning images, Personally I get a real thrill when my resident Sparrowhawk visits. It misses far more than it hits.... I would guess less than 5% success rate which means it will be visiting and feeding in a number of locations and will be doing fine.

I suggest you keep things as they are and enjoy the magnificent creature when it visits
Dave

Muffie said...

You're very kind to take such good care of those birds. And even the "evil one" is beautiful with his plumage so bright!

TexWisGirl said...

gorgeous shots!!! truly beautiful!

Nancy J said...

Your photo is absolutely magnificent, feathers and eyes so clear. I guess every bird has a right to eat, but predators, I find it a little sad, at the same time realising that is in their nature. lovely that you both are building a safer place for the little ones. Greetings from Jean.

DeniseinVA said...

Your photos are fantastic. I know we worry about our smaller birds but oh my, he truly is magnificent.

Carver said...

Great shots of the hawk. I have them stalking my backyard birds too but usually when I spot a hawk in a tree or sometimes on top of my storage building, the prey birds have made themselves scarce. I don't think the hawks catch many in my yard but there are several that I've spotted throughout my neighborhood.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

It's all about the circle of life. I guess.

Sad for the jay to have been a meal, but as you said, what a beauty.

mick said...

Great photos of a magnificent bird. Those eyes are so bright!

Andrew Fulton said...

Haha! a similar experience to mine this week... it's a beautiful bird to see, fantastic images.

Gunilla B├Ąck said...

Gorgeous photos! It's a very handsome bird.

HansHB said...

Awesome photos!

Mersad said...

Very menacing look in this eyes. But you are right, a majestic creature.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Hawks have to eat too. I love the way he's fluffed his feathers against the cold. Dianne

Carole M. said...

it's hard to know what is the right answer but your thoughts to offer shelter are good ones. Certainly an impressive series of photos

Debbie said...

i have faced the same dilema, it's so hard to know what to do. my feeders, most of them, are in an extremely protected area. some are suction cuped to the windows. the hawks still come in and have come within 3 or 4 feet of the house.

your images are gorgeous, he is a hansome fellow.....and i think he knows it!!

Debbie said...

and it seems you have a kind, wonderful hubbers!!

Andy said...

You got some great shots of this handsome brute.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh wow. Such a privilege to see this amazing bird.
And yes, a touch of unreasonable sadness too.
Love that you are providing protection as well as food for the small fry.

RedPat said...

I'm not sure if I had told you that we had a pair of Coopers Hawks take up residence in our local park which is just one block square in size. The park used to have a large population of squirrels - they are all gone now. The hawks have raised 2 families and fed them well. Wonderful pics!

Betty Luckhurst said...

He's (She's?) absolutely stunning. I can imagine the uproar of the other birds. Hopefully, he was just passing through. Those are lovely photos!

eileeninmd said...

Oh no, your poor feeder birds! It is a gorgeous hawk! Great shots and congrats on your lifer!

aspiritofsimplicity said...

perhaps not so bad news if you are the hawk...

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

These birds are enjoyable to look at

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Stunning portraits of this beautiful hawk. But yeah, mixed feelings. In Oregon (back when we still had the house/yard)we used to have a kestral hawk that visited regularly. It was hard to just sit by, but ....

Steve Borichevsky said...

Nice Coops! I threw up a Sharpie today.

Wally Jones said...

Superb photographs of a magnificent raptor!
Congratulations on a life bird!

Rambling Woods said...

I have asked this question of long time birders and rehabbers and have accepted that the hawks need to eat too as most young hawks don't survive the first year as it is... So I have a lot of places for birds to hide, yet I found dove feathers in the yard.... Sigh.... Michelle

Janet Martin said...

What a magnificent bird, but it is bittersweet, isn't it? I had to take our feeders down for a while because of the neighbor's cat.I felt so sorry for the birds as they flitted about looking for the feeders but the cat was having a hay-day.

Stephanie said...

He is gorgeous! Love his coloring in his plumage er feathers.

The Furry Gnome said...

Stunning pictures! The hawk's a bird too though, and wandering cats will kill far more small birds than he ever will! Blythe way, we lived in London for four years ourselves a long time ago.

Les... said...

excellent photo essay and magnificent pics of a beautiful predator, a great "lifer" for your list (I had to google that up!)

nature has to take its course, as brutal as it may seem to us (like killer whales eating dolphins) but it all has the purpose of survival and weeding out the weak, the sick, the old.. etc

Great work! *VBS*

Jim said...

Looks like a regal bird.

Our photos said...

What a beautiful bird, Karen!

Kusum Sanu said...

It is magnificent indeed! And Nature's Law!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Awesome photos of the hawk!

Phil Slade said...

Fantastic pictures Karen.It's natural to worry about the hawk taking birds from your garden but if it didn't take the occaional meal from there it would simply get food elsewhere, out of sight out of mind.

NatureFootstep said...

congratulations to this beautiful bird. Sitting and posing and all. :)

Really stunning!

Birgitta said...

Marvelous photos!

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wow, great looking bird, but sorry to hear about the song birds. :-(

Faye said...

I agree, such a dilemma. Have one tree in my 'burbs yard that the hawks love to land it at feeding time. Have never gotten the fab photos that you have, but am always thrilled to spot one.

Pat said...

Wow! You got some fine shots of this beautiful predator!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Sadly as beautiful as Raptors are, they are at the top of the food chain when it comes to songbirds. While larger predators do not mess with the birds, Coopers Hawks are fast and go after them more often than other things on the list of things they eat. Placing your feeders near something that the birds can easily hide in may not work either as the Coopies are brazen~

beep said...

The hawk look's so serious.

Me said...

Amazing! Incredible photos of the raptor. I guess they have to eat to but it`s to bad it`s eating our little birds.

Buttons said...

Oh stunning shots Karen he certainly is a beautiful magnificent predator. Hug B

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Karen. Amazing shot of this beautiful. Bird. I suppose this is just nature working as God intended.

Hailey said...

Very nice looking bird!!!

Adam Jones said...

Fantastic shots of a magnificent bird.

EG CameraGirl said...

Great photo of the Cooper's hawk...but you are right that it's not good news for the birds at your feeder.

pragmaticsoul said...

Whoa..Karen, these are such beautiful shots of the hawk, and I feel so bad about the blue jay being taken..

Stewart M said...

Great shot!

Everything has to eat!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Indrani said...

Oh! Bad news indeed, but you got some great captures!

Marika said...

What a gorgeus bird! ♥

Noushka said...

An absolute beauty!
Your pictures are stunning and sharp!
It looks a bit like our Eurasian Sparrowhawk!
I always enjoy the sight of one!

David Gascoigne said...

In feeding the songbirds you are helping them through the winter. The fact that a Cooper's Hawk captures a few of them merely means that you are performing the same service to that species also. I am always reminded of the old expression that in nature everything is something else's lunch. And I suspect that the birds captured by the Cooper's hawk are often the slightly sick or injured who would succumb under other conditions anyway. My advice: enjoy all the birds including the Cooper's Hawk without anthropomorphizing about it.