Saturday, February 18, 2006

Looking For Breakfast...

We spotted the above Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) scanning a sage covered field near Stanfield Marsh where we often see rabbits. This could be the same hawk that's been hanging around our yard as we were only 3 blocks from home when I took the photo at 7:45 this morning. We got about 1 1/2 inches of snow last night, you can see a bit of it on the branches just in front of the bird, whoooboy, what a winter!

postscript

After comparing this photo with the previous one of the Cooper's Hawk watching our yard I can see that these are two different birds. I also thought that perhaps this is one of a pair of hawks we observed exploring a nest a few days ago in the top of a very large pine near the marsh, about 3/4 of a mile from here, but we're not sure those were Cooper's Hawks, we didn't get a close enough look at them, and they may have been somewhat larger. And besides, this one is a juvenile, unlikely to be thinking about nesting yet.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Rexroth's Daughter said...

What a beautiful angle on that shot, Jim. We've been seeing Cooper's Hawks in our yard quite often. This one here looks like a juvenile because she still has yellow eyes. They will turn red when she matures. I'm always struck by the fierceness in their gaze, and by just how much they can actually turn their heads to hunt. That's a great photograph.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

RD-

Yes, this one is a youngster and I was very lucky to get such a nice shot.

I spent about half an hour with this bird in well below freezing temps with very cold ungloved hands. I can't operate the camera with gloves on.

My camera seemed to be having trouble spot-focusing because of the pine-needles and branches close in to the subject (the camera seemed a bit sluggish too, I think the cold was affecting it---the temperature was well outside of its supposed operating range of 32 to 104 degrees F). But I kept moving around to get a more open shot, and, it was cloudy, so the pictures were a bit dull, when, all of the sudden, the sun broke through for a minute and I got 2 or 3 more pictures, including this one, before the hawk flew off.

In hindsight, a half an hour well spent!
;~)

10:31 AM  

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