Jul 28 2008

Trying to hunt

Published by at 7:17 am under Birds of Prey

Drinking coffee on my front porch has its advantages.  Saturday morning I saw an immature coopers hawk trying to find breakfast at Magee Field.  

When he first showed up he looked pretty good chasing a flock of pigeons.  But they were too fast for him and the flock was too dense.  They could tell he was harmless and just wheeled in circles.

Meanwhile all the birds fell silent until they figured out the hawk was inept.  He jumped from branch to branch pausing to see if anything was easy to catch.  No, not as easy as he expected.  He was so unskilled that he made a lot of noise and motion with every jump.

All the birds joined in jeering at him.  The adults made warning noises while the young cowered.  Seven crows showed up and made rattling sounds in his direction.

Time and hunting practice are crucial for this immature hawk.  He must master the art of hunting very soon or he won’t survive his first year of life.  

Such a baby.  Even though he eats the birds I love, I hope he makes it.

(photo by Chuck Tague of an immature coopers hawk at a rehab facility)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Trying to hunt”

  1. Amy Fon 28 Jul 2008 at 8:41 am

    I hope he learns how to catch his dinner!

    Are the unusual blue-gray eyes an indicator of a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk? Most of the images I’ve seen show reddish eyes.

  2. Kate St. Johnon 28 Jul 2008 at 9:13 am

    Yes mature coopers hawks have red eyes, the immatures don’t. In photos of immature coopers I’ve seen both yellow and blue-gray irises. The color changes as they mature, just as it does for red-tailed hawks.

  3. CHWon 29 Jul 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Good Afternoon Kate,
    I trust all is well with E2 and Dorothy and their “kids”. I Just happen to check out the birdsbykim blog. There is an awesome picture of a young falcon, who was “playing” with the other birds. It brought back to mind the comment you made about E2 spending his time away from Pgh out east. What a good place for a young falcon to hone his hunting skills!

  4. Kate St. Johnon 29 Jul 2008 at 2:55 pm

    We last saw all four Pitt peregrines (2 adults + 2 juveniles) on July 22. By now we think the juveniles have left or else they are cruising away for the day.
    We see Dorothy and E2 regularly. They are molting and spend most of the day sleeping. This time of year is the most boring time to watch the Pitt peregrines.

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