Yardbirds: September 2018 Edition

Our bird feeders and water features in our backyard here in Boise attract a fair number of birds. And where you have concentrations of songbirds you also attract the attention of critters that eat songbirds. Like this hatch year Cooper’s Hawk.1 WC was trying to get some work done when this handsome distraction arrived.

Young Cooper's Hawk, Checking Out the Options

Young Cooper’s Hawk, Checking Out the Options

At first he was distracted by his reflection in the window. To give you an idea how close he was, this photo was taken with a 60mm lens, from a distance of less than six feet. The background is too bright, and the glass door softened the image. But still.

Not very sophisticated hunting skills just yet

Not very sophisticated hunting skills just yet

The pivot on the back of the patio chair was pretty clumsy. That, the patches of white natal feathers still present and the yellow eye all signal this is a young bird, born this spring.

A careful look around the year

A careful look around the year

Even in this fairly clumsy young bird, there is a sleek deadly elegance that speaks to the power of evolution to adapt a bird to hunting prey as agile and fast and songbirds. Cooper’s Hawks winter here in southwestern Idaho, although we get a lot of northern birds migrating through, too. Right now it’s fat city for accipiters: there are a lot of hatch year songbirds who aren’t especially alert. Most will be gone by late fall. It’s leaner times, and all of the dumb birds will have been eaten. WC wishes this handsome bird well.


  1. Young accipters like this are challenging to identify. WC’s thanks to his friends over at the Idaho Birding Facebook group for their help in sorting it out. 

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