Anyone Recognize This Fine Fellow? Or Lovely Lady?

I walked outside late Monday afternoon, thinking I'd put something decorative up on the front wall at the south end of the house. As I turned the corner, I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a magnificent hawk sitting on the wall. Never before have I been that close to such a bird: it was truly an awe-inspiring moment. We regarded each other briefly, and then s/he flew up into my neighbor's pine tree. Not wanting to miss even one second of watching it, I called to my daughter to bring me my camera. She was as awed as I was to see it and watched with me as I took the hawk's picture. I was only able to get this one shot before s/he flew away.

I'm hoping a sharp-eyed reader will be able to confirm his identity for me. Based on this picture and the description I gave to a birder friend in Iowa, we think it's a Cooper's hawk. Although sharp-shinned and red-tailed hawks were a possibility, we ruled them out based on size. The wall s/he was perched upon is just over 36 inches long and there were only a few inches of clearance on either side of the hawk. Its coloring was more of a light to medium brown than gray, and its very broad breast was streaked with that color. Its tail was rounded at the end but I didn't get a close enough look at it to see the bars that would have definitely IDed it as a Cooper's. I was too shocked and thrilled to notice!

UPDATE: I posted this on my blog at the Houston Chronicle and the estimable Birdwoman confirmed that it is indeed a Cooper's.


Isn't it great to see such a magnificent bird so close? I'm thinking that Cooper's hawks like to hang in backyards because I've seen them in my backyard three times in the last year. Unfortunately, I think it's a bird buffet to them since I feed the birds there!
Gail said…
I love hawks...and I love the close encounters with them that are too rare! A few months ago I saw a few small birds chasing a Red Tailed Hawk away from the nesting areas...brave little guys! Gail
Cindy, MCOK said…
Jean, I've had a couple of smaller hawks show up near my birdfeeders, too. One poor hawk flew into a window, leaving the shadow of his wings on the glass. Fortunately he wasn't even stunned. I hope to see this Cooper's again.

Gail, how funny about the little birds chasing the hawk! I'd like to have seen that.
Anonymous said…
where you come from!
Anonymous said…
Can not think of a different culture, for some things, will also share the same view!