Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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.

5 comments:

Jean said...

Cindy,
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!
Jean

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.

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