This year we have different hawks nesting in the upper meadow. They’re just as noisy, and as in previous years, I’ve been staying away from the nest so as not to bother them.
These are Cooper’s Hawks, and although the babies have the same descending-tone shriek as the Sharp-Shinned Hawks of years past, their call warbles a bit as the tone descends in pitch.
They are also braver, more overt in where they perch to hunt. I was sitting outside in the waning heat of the day, reading my devotions, when there was a quiet ‘thump’ above and to the side of me; about 30 feet away. I slowly looked in that direction and here it ws: Either Mom or Dad was perched on the peak of the house, sharply watching the back meadow, and that’s how I finally got a good-enough look and an identification.
Night before last, I saw Dad getting brave and going after crow babies. As you can imagine, the crows didn’t much like that idea. WHAT a cacophony! Six crows, all after the Cooper’s Hawk. It was fascinating to watch: The hawk tried a high, fast-in approach, but was frustrated by the crows getting in his dive-path. Then he tried a low-and fast approach, and he was ‘war-crying’ his way in; with a “Chuuuh-chuuuh-chuuuh” as he zoomed across the back meadow, arrowing for the tree. I don’t know if he got a prize or not, but as he swooped away, the crows were on him like a bunch of basketball defenders. His speed and agility easily allowed him to escape.
I haven’t seen the hawk babies flying yet. However, the shrieks seem to be coming from various trees in the upper meadow, and lately in the neighbors’ meadows; and they move around. So perhaps they’re trying short hops until they can build up their strength for longer flights.
A couple positive notes because of their presence: there seem to be a lower population of destructive rabbits and mice around at the moment.
I’ll be keeping my camera handy, but as in past years, I really don’t count on getting a shot unless I’m REALLY lucky. They just move too fast when they’re on the hunt.
Meanwhile I still stand in wonder at how God made all parts of the ecosystem to fit together.