Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cooper's Hawk

While walking the trail along the Rio Grande River in the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park Friday morning, I came across a Cooper's Hawk that was not easily spooked. In fact, it occasionally swooped down over my head flying between two trees. Not really menacing, but it definitely got my attention. I took several pictures of it, but it was difficult to get a good exposure as there was a bright sun shining from the rear through the leaves and branches of the trees in which it perched.
I conveyed the story to one of the birders on the field trip I took yesterday and she suggested that it may have a nest near by. This made a lot of sense based on the Hawk's behavior, so, I got the idea that I would come back in the evening in the hope that it would still be near by when the sun would have moved to the other side providing front light. That didn't work out, however, as a summer rain moved in later in the afternoon and evening.
Since I didn't have a meeting today until 4:00, I decided to make one more morning trip to the Park. It was a pretty successful trip and while there I decided to visit the area that I saw the Hawk. Sure enough, it was perched in one of the same trees I found it on Friday. I took more pictures and tried to adjust the exposure based on what I had learned from the previous shoot. Again it swooped down over me and I shot the top image as it was just taking off.
It landed in the other tree and I was having a little trouble finding it. Then I saw something moving on one of the branches, but it looked slightly different. To my surprise, it was a juvenile Cooper's Hawk. The Hawk was indeed trying to scare me away with its swooping. I took several pictures. A couple of times during that time the juvenile stretched out its wings. It was the second time that I captured the center image.
Finally, I noticed a large ball of sticks in the same tree, not far from the juvenile. It had to be the nest and I included a picture of it in the bottom image.
Truly an exciting experience!

1 comment:

  1. The same thing just happened to me tonight! I was just googling "Cooper's hawk swooping" and I found your blog. I must say it was a little intimidating because he flew so low. I definitely felt like I was being escorted 'off the premises'.