Yard Birds, December 2018 Edition


Sub-adult, Male Cooper's Hawk, Boise, Idaho

Sub-adult, Male Cooper’s Hawk, Boise, Idaho

As WC has noted before, there are bird feeders and then there are bird feeders. If you put out birdfeeders, and attract songbirds in any numbers, you are also going to attract critters that eat songbirds, like Cooper’s Hawks.

This is a sub-adult by eye color and feather pattern; it’s a male by size (among most raptors, the male is slightly smaller). He hung around than an hour, eyeing the Dark-eyed Juncos, Song Sparrows and House Finches with bad intent.

Cooper's Hawk, checking out the option, Boise,  Idaho

Cooper’s Hawk, checking out the option, Boise, Idaho

Cooper’s Hawks, like their fellow Accipiters, Sharp-shinned Hawks, evolved to catch passerines, songbirds. They’ll also nosh on small mammals, reptiles and even larger insects. But small birds are their primary prey.

Cooper's Hawk, Boise, Idaho

Cooper’s Hawk, Boise, Idaho

He didn’t catch anything while he was in WC’s yard, despite a couple of opportunities. Eventually, he left to try his luck at a neighbor’s feeders. In suburban neighborhoods like WC’s about 20% of attempts are successful. It’s probably lower for younger, inexperienced birds like this fellow.

It’s always a treat so see a raptor, and a special treat to have one hang around for a while.

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