Birdbane

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Birdbane. A Cooper’s hawk is all business. Tucson, Arizona.

Bobcats aren’t the only predators that frequented our yard in Tucson. Cooper’s hawks were common in our neighborhood, helping to keep the population of doves and other small birds from getting out of hand. While it is not clear that they were totally successful, we saw them frequently flying at high speed through the yard at about head height. Once I saw a small bird flying across the street as fast as it could into a large bush with a hawk in hot pursuit—the hawk just plunged into the bush after it at full speed without hesitation. I’m not quite sure how the conflict ended, but the hawk had obviously lost the element of surprise and once inside the bush the terrain had to favor the little bird, so this one perhaps got away. Other’s didn’t:

Feathers Fly. A Cooper’s hawk feasts upon an unfortunate bird. Tucson, Arizona.

Over the last couple years, a breeding pair established a nest high in a massive mesquite tree that overhangs the garden in our (now former) back yard. The nest was quite high in the tree and, while the hawks could be seen tending it for a long time the first spring (2021), I was never able to see any young although I am pretty sure they were there. Last year they returned to the nest but did not stay with it long, so I am suspicious that their attempts to call in reinforcements against the doves were ultimately unsuccessful.

A Private Moment. Cooper’s hawks making more Cooper’s hawks in Tucson, Arizona.
Unimpressed. A Cooper’s hawk glares at her mate. Tucson, Arizona.

Technical notes. The photographs in this post were taken with a Nikon Z7 and the best bird lens that I own, the AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR. All were processed from RAW in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

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