Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hawks Continued

I've learned that it can be difficult to identify particular types of hawks. But, thanks to Tamara, who commented on my earlier hawk post, this appears to be a Cooper's Hawk. The bird is about crow-sized and has the white tips at the end of the tail feathers. More identification stuff here.

All about birds has some great background on the Cooper's Hawk. They are "among the world's most skillful fliers" because of how they can weave around tree branches in pursuit of prey. They eat other birds, including doves, which we have see a lot around here. They also eat small rodents. Cooper's Hawks have strong feet and kill their prey by grabbing it with their feet and squeezing it. They've even been known to drown their prey by holding it underwater. Another bird site says hawks, in general, have eyesight 2-3 times better than ours. Unlike other birds, the eyes of hawks and other birds of prey are set to look forward rather than on the side of their head. They mate for life and can reuse nests year after year.

This is a bit far afield. But, Cooper's Hawk is named after William Cooper, a "conchologist," who studied mollusks and other animal life. He collected specimens of many animals including a newly found type of hawk.


Sarah said...

Wow, incredible birds. Do you worry they will get your chickens?? Why do you think so many are hanging around your yard right now?

Michael Coppess said...

Thanks, Sarah. After reading about the hawks, I'm a little less worried about the chickens. A hawk can only carry prey that is about half its weight, so a grown hen would be quite a challenge. But, we stay with the hens when we let them out anyway. The hawks could be hanging around for the chickens, but we have a lot of doves in the yard too.