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Cooper's Hawk
January 28, 2013

We had winter for a week.

Cold and snow.

We managed to get about 6 inches of Lake Effect Snow (total).

Big Whoop, ten miles from here they got about 24 inches of white fluff.

Some sub-zero temperatures (Fahrenheit).

It was actually cold enough to to the boiling water toss and watch it vaporize and a few ice crystals.

Tuesday morning blessed us with the most beautiful sun dogs, almost pillars I have ever seen (pictured).

Today most of the snow is gone and will be for sure by Tuesday.

Rain and 50 degrees is in the forecast.

By mid-week, winter is supposed to return.

Clean up from the water damage is complete.

Wednesday the floor guy comes to show samples for the new floor.

I don't know it the whole job will be done this week or will it be next week.

One thing we learned from this mess......

It was suggested to us, to replace washing machine hoses every three years or so, as this can be a common occurrence.

I can't say I've ever had this happen before, but I will be changing hoses from now on.

Even from a mishap, I can still learn something new.

One thing the snow and cold does, is bring in the birds for some serious feeding times.

Like any good backyard birder, I'm ready.

With the cold, cold temperatures, I made sure there was plenty of high fat, high protein food for them.

Black oil sunflower seed, raw peanut splits, and suet.

Where there are songbirds, you will find predators.

This year is no exception.

In fact, I have two hawks to chase.

Both Cooper's hawk,

One male.

One female.

Both immature birds that like the hunting around here and decided not to migrate.

It is usually the young that remain in the Northern climates during winter.

A bit on Cooper's Hawk.


Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii).

Accipiters are a genus hawks characterized by short wings and a long tail (Cooper's hawk, Sharp shinned hawk, Goshawk).

Living near a wooded area, there is no shortage of birds of prey around here.

Every winter I deal with a new bird and this year I have a young male and a young female Cooper.

Most winters it is the immature birds, as most adults will migrate.

Cooper’s Hawks are common woodland hawks that fly through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds.

Because of their design to move through woodlands and brush fields, they are ready made for suburban and city life as well.

Among the bird world’s most skillful fliers, these birds of prey can fly between houses, buildings and surprise a feeding bird in the blink of an eye.

You’re most to see a few stiff wing beats followed by a glide.

I also see them frequent my neighborhood.

Such determined hunters, these birds will freely fly into thick brush and branches in pursuit of prey.

Records frequently show broken bones and hawk blood left on branches.

Once a Cooper grabs its prey, they kill it by imposing several death taking squeezes as they squeeze the life out of it.

Most other raptors will bite its prey to death.

(Immature Female)

I've seen Cooper's fly into shrubs talon first on may occasion.

Iv'e seem them come out empty and watched them with success.

I've also witnessed the death grip on one of my beloved cardinals and that ticked me off.

I've even witnessed Tree swallows chasing a Cooper's into a tree.

That put a smile on my face.

A bird of prey in action can be exciting to watch

It may also be disheartening to see one of your songbird fall victim to a hawk.

The hawks are only playing their role in the circle of life, and they do not kill more birds than needed to survive.

Studies estimate that only 10% of the time kills are successful for most bird's of prey.

Some studies suggest 20% for Cooper's hawk, making them one of the most successful hunters.

We must also remember, the majority of the birds taken are old, weak or sick and removing them from the flock will help strengthen the remaining birds.

Protecting Backyard Birds From Hawks:

(Pictured in my yard three years ago is a mature female with starling. can you see the blood red eyes?)

Backyard birders Should the most possible protection for their resident flocks have several options to foil a hawk’s hunt.


Providing natural cover for small birds is the best way to protect them from hawk attacks.

Dense trees, shrubbery and brush piles are all suitable, and shelter should be within 10 feet of bird feeders so small birds can reach it quickly when they feel threatened.

choose plants that provide seeds or fruits for the birds, and they will be able to feed in the cover and in complete safety.

Shield Feeders:

Place bird feeders in covered areas such as under an awning or umbrella or hanging from lower tree branches where the canopy will prevent hawks from seeing available prey.

covered platform feeders can also provide some visual shielding from circling hawks.

Avoid Ground Feeding:

Birds that feed on the ground are more vulnerable to hawk attacks because they cannot react as quickly to a predator and their options are limited as to where to go.

Avoid low feeders or feeding birds on the ground to minimize a hawk’s success.

This is why my backyard is full of the garden sticks (pictures). I get all sorts of cardinals, doves and other birds that enjoy ground feeding.

It is almost impossible for a hawk to negotiate and and give my birds a fighting chance.

I know it is part of life, but I don't want to set a buffet table for every hawk around.

Remove Hawk Food Sources:

There are many things birds of prey eat in addition to small birds.

Removing additional food sources such as field rodents or large insects will make the hunting ground less attractive.

Be sure to use extermination methods that will not harm your backyard birds.

Cage Feeders:

Choose bird feeder designs that include wire cages that protect perches and feeding ports, or build a cage around existing feeders.

This will allow small birds to access the food in relative security since larger birds, including hawks, will not be able to reach them.

Hawks often rely on panicky birds, this will not prevent small birds from panicking at a hawk’s approach, it will help give them a moment or two to flee while slowing down the hawk.

(Immature Male on my deck a couple weeks ago.)

Remove Feeders:

If hawks are still a menace to your backyard birds, remove all bird feeders and cease feeding the birds for a week or two.

After a few days, the hawk will move on to different hunting grounds but the smaller birds will quickly return when you resume feeding.

The hawk will probably return as well, but generally it will take longer for a hawk to rediscover a good hunting area.

When Hawks Won’t Leave:

If a particularly aggressive hawk refuses to leave your backyard and becomes a threat to pets or humans, contact local wildlife management or animal control officials.

It is possible that the bird is injured and unable to hunt in more difficult areas, or it may be nesting nearby.

Either way, only licensed officials should make that determination and they will be able to either remove the bird without harming it or can offer additional advice on protecting backyard birds from hawks.

It can be frustrating to contend with aggressive birds of prey, but there are certain tactics that should always be avoided when discouraging hawks from visiting the backyard.

Under no circumstances should birders ever try to kill or harm birds of prey, which are protected by many federal and state laws.

Do not release cats in an attempt to scare a hawk away – cats will not usually attack birds as large as hawks, and the cats themselves may become victims to larger birds of prey.

Furthermore, cats are just as likely to kill the backyard birds you hope to protect and kill just for the fun of it.

(Young male closeup.)

To help distinguish between Immature and Mature Cooper's hawks, look at the colors.

Adult breasts have a rust color, and blood red eyes.

If you look at some of the pictures, you will see yellow eyes and more of a white breast with dark markings.

Click for more information on

Cooper's Hawk

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

No home is complete without affection (love). You can have all the Picassos in the world or walls made of gold, but without affection it's nothing.

Claudio Luti, CEO of furniture company Kartell

Love and affection are priceless.

We need love to survive.

It's that simple folks.

"For God is Love."

1 John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails."

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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