Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Train Station Cooper's Hawk Release, Thawing by Crows, the Sparrow Pile, and the Invisi-hunting Baby Owl, Maybe.

The Train Station Cooper's Hawk courtesy of Tufts U.
Many thanks to Robin of Illinois for sending these links about the young hawk's release after rehab--

(And a raptor rehab question-- What health problem of captive raptors is ameliorated by the covering of the above perch?

Here is a little backyard interlude starring the C family of Crows-Carol, Christopher and C.J. (Christoper Junior) Carol is on the Goodie Stump testing out a frozen wild grape I'd saved from the vines this summer.

C.J. appears and is checking out what Carol has. She switches sides of the stump, taking her grape with her. She then flies down to the ground.

Carol still keeping an eye on C.J. as he picks something from the stump.

C.J. takes his tidbit to the heated bird bath. Carol checks where Christopher is.

C.J. seemed focused on his grape as he puts it into the bath to thaw but then quickly looks up in time to see Carol bury her grape in the snow.

She looks up and he's back looking at his grape in the bath.

The sparrows are sunbathing on their pile I suspect stalling to see if it's okay to head for the feeders, hoping someone else will fly over first and lure the Cooper's Hawk out of the Spruce if he's in there.

In the meantime Christopher Crow has found a chunk of frozen hamburger in the snow. He's holding it down with a foot while attempting to break a chunk off with his beak.

He checks to see what the other two are doing.

They appear occupied and he pulls the whole thing out of the obscuring snow.

In the meantime Sparrow Hen keeps an eye peeled while Sparrow Cock preens.

Christopher has taken is chunk of meat and is hiding it in a new spot in the snow while using the grass stalks for cover.

Though already well rounded for winter, White Ears continues to add yet another layer of fat cells.

Sparrows fly out and hastily fly back in.

Another little shuffle and then they finally head for the patio feeding area.

And then back again.

And Mr. Downy grabs a seed to go.

I find this next section very interesting!
From Tulsa Hawkwatcher, Jackie Dover-- Invisi-Hunting by a baby Owl or is it?

I watched this bit of video with great interest. In New York City we often see newly fledged Red-tails, hunting and killing rocks and sticks by leaping on them, grasping the "prey" with their talons, hopping up and down with the item in their feet, and banging it on the ground. So far I've not seen one just kill air which at first look it appears to be what the little Owl is doing. She appears to be imagining prey, leaping on it, and biting it. Then she backs up and does it again. Now it isn't that I'm denying that raptors have imagination in any way, but I think wired in play/ practice would entail using a real focal point of some kind. Also near the end of the video, she appears to be biting the edge of the shelf with a certain amount of frustration. I think she's seeing something and hunting it. Can you tell what it is?

Donna Browne

John Blakeman on the Boston Train Station Hawk With A Good Capture Method, Plus Video-The Hawk Gets Knocked Out

Photo by Donna Browne Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

The second post of yesterday involved a supposed Red-tailed Hawk who'd flown into a Boston Train Station and was perched up top in the rafters considering the situation. Scroll down if you've not read it and seen the video. Sally of Kentucky, caught it first.... Oops that's no Red-tail that's a Cooper's Hawk!

I also found this news story, seems that the Coop had been up there for a week already by December 5th.

Here is what Ohio Red-tail expert John Blakeman had to say about the matter--


The Boston hawk is a Cooper’s Hawk, not a red-tail. The plumage is all wrong for a red-tail, and a red-tail would never get itself perched way up on the interior beam this bird was photographed on.

Cooper’s Hawks are famous for getting inside buildings like the one shown. I’ve dealt with a number like this. They shoot easily and naturally under and through open doors, right into the interior relative darkness. This matches exactly what they do when shooting through woodlots, dashing under limbs and downed trees in search of birds. But in a forest, there is always an opening on the other side of the "entrance." Not so in buildings.

And the falconer shown briefly with a mouse-baited "bal-chatri" trap (pronounced "ball-shot-ree") is unlikely to capture the hawk. Cooper’s Hawks seldom drop down to the ground in pursuit of mice. They are primarily a bird hawk. The trap should have been baited with freshly-caught house sparrows, which when properly handled will dash back and forth inside the cage, luring the hawk down to the apparently injured sparrows inside.

The trap is covered with small nylon snares that enclose around the hawk’s legs and toes when the hawk attacks the lure animals inside. The hawk is uninjured in any way.

But the Cooper’s Hawk won’t come down to a pair of white mice, especially in a busy train station.

–John Blakeman

Thank you John for sharing your experience and knowledge of the species with the rest of us. Here is another link for a piece of video, from WDEF, Boston, as The Animal Rescue League attempts to rescue the Cooper's Hawk in the train station.

On a lighter note, in case there was any doubt about the ancestors of birds being dinosaurs, here is Quicksilver doing an imitation of his many times Great Grandfather.

Donna Browne

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Young Red-tail in the MBTA Station? The Cooper's Waits for the Sparrows

Photograph by Donna Browne
This is a young Red-tailed Hawk. In fact she's a fledgling from the nest of Isolde and the late Tristan at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Take her in. Look at her carefully.

Photograph by Donna Browne
This is a young Cooper's Hawk that I photographed in Wisconsin back in 2007. Look at her carefully as well.

That done. On to something else to look at.

Here is an news article and video, from 7NEWSwhdh Boston, sent in by Robin of Illinois, link below--

BOSTON -- Animal rescue workers got a bird’s eye view of a South Boston MBTA station all because of a hawk’s new found home.

A young red-tailed hawk perches on a pipe in the Andrew Square T station, even as hundreds of commuters pass through the station daily.
You may have to copy and paste the link because of length.


**************************************************************************When The next I looked in my email box, there was a forwarded email from rehab volunteer Sally of Kentucky, who said--

It's a Cooper's I think, certainly not a redtail. Poor baby!

After some discussion about the differences in adult and juvenile Cooper's Hawks, Robin agreed.

What do you think?

As for me, I'm going for a juvenile Accipiter, as well. Not a Red-tail.


Look at the top photograph of the young Red-tail. Her breast is clear down to the belly band.

Look at the photograph of the young Cooper's Hawk and that of the bird in the video, they both have streaks up to their necks.

Interesting that there were falconers on the spot in Boston, who didn't catch what Sally did. Or perhaps they caught it, but the reporter didn't get the message.

Speaking of Accipiters, I looked out my back door yesterday and this is what I saw.

A young Cooper's Hawk (still light eyed, and brown toned) sitting on my pile of twigs that earlier this year had been the building materials for the Big Nest. That is until about 100 House Sparrows moved in for the winter.

Young Cooper's Hawk decides to ignore me, distracted perhaps by movement deep in the twigs.

I'd been wondering why I'd been having so few visitors to the feeders since I'd returned to Wisconsin. Young hawk here could well be the reason.

Then after staring fixedly in a different spot, she looked back at me as I tried to set up to digiscope inside by the patio door. Then she flew to the big nest and off into the trees.

Today once again I noted absolutely no business at my bird feeders. When I went outside with a bucket of water for the bird bath, a Cooper's Hawk flew from the near left Spruce in the yard into the big Spruce on the far deep right and disappeared into the branches.
I immediately went out to look if I could spy her amongst the needles. Not a feather could I see. Either it was too dim or she'd pulled a fast one on me and flown directly out the back side of the tree without stopping.

Donna Browne