WC and Mrs. WC maintain a few bird feeders in our backyard. Tube feeders with sunflower seed kernels, tray feeders with mixed seeds, a mesh bag with nyjer and a small suet cake. Nothing fancy, but it draws in a decent variety of birds. We also have cracked corn in ground trays for Mallards and Wood Ducks.
Most of the following photos are through windows, so the photo quality isn’t terribly good. A few are also through netting (to minimize bird strikes on windows) and those photos are even worse. You can make out the species anyway. WC would not enter them in any contests.
Well, it used to be a pair. There was an extensive collection of Collared Dove feathers on the ground recently and we’ve only seen one Collared Dove since.
That’s because there are birdfeeders and then there are bird feeders.
The primary prey of Cooper’s Hawks is birds, and a flock of birds on feeders is a lunchbox to these accipters. WC had a chance to watch this big girl hunt on Friday afternoon. The first run she came south to north – out of the sun, in fact – at very high speed and nailed a Pine Siskin that was just a little slow getting off the tube feeder. The hawk circled back and landed very briefly on one of the feeders, letting WC identify the prey.
The second run was even more interesting. She came in and landed on the Virginia Creeper covered fence that borders our property. Then she dropped part way down, and three times flashed her wings suddenly, attempting to startle any songbirds lurking in the shrubbery. The third time it worked, and what was likely a Junco jetted out. The Cooper’s Hawk nailed the junco before it had gotten six feet. The pounce was unbelievably fast. One instant she was flashing the brush, faced south, and the next instant she was flying north, clutching a bird in her talons.
All of that is in addition to three different Anna’s Hummingbirds coming to a heated nectar feeder.
It makes the winter a lot more fun for a birder.