Sunday, July 27, 2014

And Then There Were Three...

Got a real surprise from the Cooper's Hawks the other day. I discovered they will eat one another. As in cannibalism. Sitting out on my deck last week, I heard a cacophony like you wouldn't believe. Knowing the hawks had killed something and were eating it, I grabbed camera and video camera and ran to film the action. I was five minutes into shooting when I realized the dinner wasn't some small, seed-eating bird.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

MORRIS: "I'm starving."

PHIL: "Me too. What's there to eat around here?"

BERT: "Nothing. We ate all the sparrows."

PHIL: "You ate all the sparrows, you pig!"

MONA: "He ate all the birds. Now there are no more birds."

MORRIS: "Well, there are a few birds, actually" (gives a quick look to Mona and Bert)

MONA (catching on right away): "Say, Phil, you feeling alright? You look a little bit tired."

(Bert, Mona, and Morris begin to skulk towards Phil)

PHIL: "Yeah, I've got this wing that isn't feeling too strong right now, and I really...(suddenly it clicks with Phil)...NO! I feel great. Strong as an ox! Really. Why are you guys looking at me that way? Hey! Move back!"

I think this is about when I heard the commotion. And the result is below. Watch the very brief video only if you like your nature documentaries raw. I have about three minutes of video, but this gives you the basic idea. And yes, the other birds did fight over the dinner bird.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cooper's Hawks: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Screaming

This spring Lady Marshmallow and I were treated to something new. We had a pair of nesting Cooper's Hawks take up residence in our back yard. Being the inquisitive type, I immediately looked up everything I could on Cooper's Hawks, excitedly hoping that their favorite meal would be squirrels or 3ft. tall Macaws.

Squirrels have been eating us out of bird seed for years, and we have yet to find that elusive "squirrel proof" feeder. As for the Macaw, let's just say our neighbors next door like it noisy at their place, and they love to put their monster birds in the outdoor aviary from April 1 to about mid-November. The leader of the squawk pack is a gigantic Macaw with no manners whatsoever. Oh, and that aviary is strategically placed ON THE PROPERTY LINE WE SHARE. Do you know just how loud a Macaw can scream? Yes. Scream. Like it's being murdered. All day long.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that Cooper's Hawks eat pretty much only seed-eating birds of smallish to medium size. Squirrels rejoice!

A couple of weeks ago, we were treated to something else. Cooper's Hawk babies. Hatchlings? Puppies? Whatever. We went from two to four hawks. Now the fledglings are making their way about and have begun to hunt. I managed some photos, which are below. By the way, juvenile Cooper's Hawks also scream/screech/wail, etc. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Thankfully, the Macaw almost drowns them out.


EDIT: My apologies for removing the photos, but I've recently had one of my best photos lifted and used for commercial use by a company, without my knowledge or permission. The only way to prevent that from happening to other photos is to not make them available for viewing.