Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Soggy Hawk, Feisty Squirrel October 23, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Birds,Fall,Mammals,Seasons — saltthesandbox @ 9:14 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

By this morning it had been raining off and on for more than 24 hours, so when a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk showed up in our back yard, I wasn’t surprised that it looked like this:

After all that rain, this young Cooper's Hawk was pretty soggy.

After all that rain, this young Cooper's Hawk was pretty soggy.

Gail had spotted the hawk and called me up from the basement. She had first seen the hawk on the back fence, but a squirrel had chased it off. The hawk had sought some safety in our small ash tree.

Well, guess what happened next?

At first the Gray Squirrel did not seem to pay much attention to the young Cooper's Hawk.

At first the Gray Squirrel did not seem to pay much attention to the young Cooper's Hawk, but the hawk kept an eye on the squirrel.

When the squirrel got a bit closer to the hawk, it seemed to put them both on alert.

When the squirrel got a bit closer to the hawk, it seemed to put them both on alert.

The squirrel and hawk eyed each other warily, but the squirrel did not back down.

The squirrel and hawk eyed each other warily, but the squirrel crept closer rather than backing down.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of what happened next. The squirrel edged a bit closer, and the hawk flew back to the fence.

The Cooper’s Hawk did not just sit there on the fence. Instead, it tried to shake off some of the water that had soaked its feathers:

The young Cooper's Hawk shook its head, trying to shed some water.

The young Cooper's Hawk shook its head, trying to shed some water.

It didn't seem to do much good -- the hawk's feathers still looked pretty soggy.

It didn't seem to work. The hawk's feathers still looked pretty soggy.

—–

Now, let’s zoom ahead four hours. The rain has stopped, and Aaron just got home from a friend’s house. He spotted the hawk on a utility wire in the alley. It had hung itself out, like laundry on a clothesline, trying to dry its feathers in the breeze:

Later that afternoon the Cooper's Hawk was still drying its feathers, this time but spreading them in the breeze.

Later that afternoon the Cooper's Hawk was still drying its feathers, this time but spreading them in the breeze. Photo by Aaron Gyllenhaal.

Aaron managed to get closer to the hawk, whose feathers were finally starting to dry:

Photo by Aaron Gyllenhaal.

The young Cooper's Hawk was finally drying out. Photo by Aaron Gyllenhaal.

So far the squirrels have won every confrontation we’ve seen in our yard. However, it seems the birds have not been as lucky. We’ve found the remains of several Pigeons near our home. Maybe that’s why the daily Pigeon counts on our yard have dropped from more than 30 during hawk-free September to only nine today.

 

4 Responses to “Soggy Hawk, Feisty Squirrel”

  1. Amy Says:

    Great shots of an unhappy looking Cooper’s Hawk! I’ve seen the same kind of interactions between Coops and squirrels in our back yard. I’m surprised the squirrels are so bold! With at least two fresh piles of plucked feathers in the yard today I don’t need to worry about the hawks going hungry, that’s for sure. There’s a reason they come back almost every day – Mourning Doves are on the menu.

    • Thanks for the comment, Amy.
      We don’t have that many Mourning Doves this time of year. I’m glad our hawks are taking Pigeons. We’re near a highway (with bridges) and apartment buildings, so we have an infinite supply of Pigeons.
      Eric

  2. Myles Says:

    Interesting site. Found it after talking to a friend who is a Birmingham Roller Pigeon enthusiast. They are no fans of the Coopers Hawk. They feel it’s incursion into more urban areas has offset the balance of other predatory birds, such as Blue Jays in the Los Angeles area. Keep up the good work.
    Myles

  3. Crush1800 Says:

    Love the story, we had a similar thing happen yesterday. We live in DSM Iowa, and a have our old Christmas tree near our feeders, as of late, a Hawk has been landing on the tree looking for a meal. A Squirrel was on the porch and stood its ground, the Hawk basically ignored it, they both ended up on the fence inches from each other, and they didn’t even attack one another. I opened the curtians near them in the bedroom and the Hawk flew off. We didn’t get pictures, yet, the memory is burned in well. PEACE


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