[Tweeters] Update on Immature COOPER'S HAWK - "Junior" is Improving his Hunting Skills

johntubbs at comcast.net johntubbs at comcast.net
Wed Nov 21 11:43:15 PST 2007

Hi All,

For those who followed "Junior's" fumbling hunting adventures in the vicinity of my work feeders earlier, here's an update. He still shows up periodically, so he is successfully feeding himself. He is not around constantly as he was previously, but periodically charges in from one of the greenbelt woodlots trying to take a bird by surprise. His flying skills have clearly improved dramatically - he is definitely faster and more maneuverable than the first several times I saw him. After many futile earlier hunts, he has made two successful hunts that I have seen now. One just occurred in the last half hour and I managed to see where he flew off with the prey, walked carefully in that direction and found him plucking the unlucky House Finch. It was obvious from the feathers in the vicinity that he has used this location as a plucking branch before. Interestingly, it is on a branch only about a foot off the ground, sheltered by overhanging brush, and within 25 feet of a f!
airly w
ell-used employee path - but you would never see him without actively searching. He kept an eye on me as I approached to the closest point on the path, stopped and put the binocs on him - then concluded I wasn't a threat and went back to plucking and eating.

As background "music" to this whole scene, the resident Black-capped Chickadees were sounding off their 'Chicka-dee-deeee-DEEEeeee' predator alert warning for everyone else in the area, but none of the birds were actively mobbing Junior.

It has certainly been interesting to periodically have these little windows into Junior's maturation process. To me, it's been very educational and entertaining to see. To Junior, this is deadly serious business - his hunting skills need to be honed to sustain himself through his first winter, which many raptors aren't able to do. Then after next year's molt into adult plumage, he will need to contend with the territoriality of other adults who won't cut him a break knowing he's just a 'kid' from his juvenal plumage. And perhaps the most interesting perspective is that this little (mostly) natural drama is going on in a two-building business park on a daily basis yet virtually no one who works here has the slightest idea all this is happening literally right outside their window.

John Tubbs
Snoqualmie, WA
johntubbs at comcast.net
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