Friday, December 18, 2009

Karen's Cooper's Hawks and a Report of a Poisoned Red-tail in Central Park

If you remember a month or so ago Karen Kolling of RI, sent in two photos of a mystery hawk. John Blakeman identified her as a female Cooper's Hawk. Well Karen has once again discovered a hawk sitting in exactly the same spot. Here's what she had to say.


I dunno if this is the same hawk, but I tried to get photos of more of her tail this time. The whitish stuff in the background that looks like a prison colony fence is my neighbor's dock railing.


John Blakeman responded--


This is a Cooper's Hawk, who thinks it ought to try some fish. Of course, it's an immature, still trying to figure out how to survive its first winter. (Joking, for course. It's looking, as all Coops do, for birds.)

From the size of the head, it's probably a tiercel (male). It's head sits well above the shoulder, with a real neck, making it a Cooper's, not a Sharp-shinned.

At least the bird has a rather discriminating landscape preference. Very nice view. (I design prairie landscapes, which actually convey something of a waving water image, at least in larger landscapes.)

--John Blakeman

And Karen's email to John Blakeman--


Do you think it's a different bird from the photo Donna sent you before? I think that one was possibly a female? If so, I guess maybe there are a few Coopers passing through... Who knew :-) And they both landed on the same bush (Japanese maple, actually), which gives them a good view of the cove, and is conveniently set up for me to take a photo :-)



This is the hawk photographed by Karen the last time she caught one in this spot. It was a dim day so I brightened the exposure a little bit on the photo hoping for some mental illumination along the way.

My personal take is that this bird looks to be a bigger bird over all (Handy of them to perch in the same spot like that isn't it? Much easier to compare them.) plus take a gander at the tarsus, her "ankle". Now look at the size of the overall bird and the tarsus of the bird who was photographed more recently-top of blog.
Those feet and tarsus look finer than the other birds. My surmise is also that the first bird was a formel and the second a tiercel.

Photographs by Karen Anne Kolling

Sally of Tennessee (Correction--Sally is of course from Kentucky instead of Tennessee just like she always has been in previous mentions on the blog. Sorry Sally.) brought to my attention a report on Lincoln Karim's website, According to the report Dr. Ward Stone the New York State Wildlife Pathologist examined a Red-tailed Hawk that was found dead in Central Park that was sent to him by the Park Rangers. The hawk showed signs of hemorrhage comparable to that caused by an anticoagulant rat poison.

Donegal Browne


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Sally said...

I'm from Kentucky, but that's ok! It must be hard to keep track of. Glad you made it through the snow storm to NYC! Have a very Merry Christmas and happy hawking!

Donegal Browne said...


I am so sorry about my blunder with juxtaposing the states. And how many times have I written Sally from Kentucky when you've sent in contributions to the blog? Must be at least fifty. And to make matters worse I had to spellchek Tennessee to make sure I'd spelled it right, and couldn't figure out why I wasn't doing it from memory. Why? Because I should have been spelling Kentucky like usual. Once again my apologies.