[Tweeters] Watching a hawk attack

Rob Sandelin robsan668 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 14 15:08:06 PST 2016

This morning the sun broke out and the world sparkled with water drop
diamonds at the tip of every branch. As I was admiring the dazzling view out
my window there was a movement at the edge of the woods. A largish bird
skimmed over the top of the salmonberry and it flipped up and landed on a
low alder branch to reveal itself as a Coopers Hawk. Eight feet below my
window view, under the bird feeder, were three varied thrushes doing their
scratch dance in the fallen seed duff. The hawk was clearly on the hunt,
moving its head all around and it must have seen one or more of the birds.

>From about 40 feet away It dropped down and while pumping its wings to gain

momentum it circled around the brush, using the brush to hide its approach
from the thrushes on the ground. I expected it to go all the way around and
come up at the birds low but instead it surprised me by rising up and doing
a remarkable set of aerial twists going right through a tangled thicket of
Vine maple and Witch hazel branches. This route put the hawk right on top
its target, and all three birds flew up.but they had no chance. There was a
brief micro-second as the hawk stopped pumping its wings, then it chose its
prey and nailed it, catching it about 3 feet off the ground and driving it
hard to the earth. I realized that I was holding my breath! After a minute
on the ground the Hawk picked up the thrush and with laborious wing beats,
managed to carry it into the woods. The whole event took less than 3

Rob Sandelin

Snohomish County

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