[Tweeters] Crows and Cooper's Hawk

Doug Plummer 2doug at dougplummer.com
Fri Nov 9 15:59:40 PST 2007

Our street has a resident Cooper's Hawk. It often perches in the
chestnut tree in the neighbor's yard, where it has an unfettered view
of my bird feeders. Days go by with not a peep nor a visit to the
feeders, and I know that the hawk is around.

This morning I heard a loud, frantic call, and looked out my kitchen
window to see the Cooper's on the ground with a Starling pinned
beneath it. Not a bad choice of prey, I thought. As it kneaded the
bird with its talons and the cries grew weaker and ceased, the two
resident crows joined to watch. They did not harass the hawk, they
just were paying attention. When he flew off with the limp Starling,
the crows followed.

I've seen this before--our neighborhood crows are like our beat cops.
They know the resident thugs, the accipiters that winter on the
street, and monitor them. They don't mob or harass them, but they're
always nearby, keeping watch. Yes, we know you have a job to do, and
you have a right to be here. But we're keeping an eye on you.

If a strange hawk, say a red-tailed, shows up on the street, then the
beat cops shout for backup. There'll be 20 crows raising an alarm,
and the hawk eventually flies off in disgust. But they've accepted
the ones that winter over and obey the rules, whatever they are.

Doug Plummer
Doug Plummer, Photographer

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