juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 18

Hanging Out

July 5, 2014

The fledglings seem to like hanging out together. At least two of them are together a lot, although I can't be sure it's the same two every time! Three Hanging Out

It seems to me that fledgling Cooper's hawks know all about perching on one foot, even at this young age! I also see them spread forward on a limb, with one wing askew. They try to behave like grown-up hawks, but they are still developing flight and perching skills.

Perched on One Leg

July 6, 2014

The fledglings favor the cypress trees near nest tree (which is a live oak). Cypress boughs afford them natural coverage, and the shaggy bark of the tree is easy to grasp. To get an idea of what their talons are like, enlarge the second and fourth photos below. The talon of the hawk's second digit is almost as large as the talon on its hallux (rear first digit). Soon the young hawks will be learning how to put these lethal weapons to work, as they begin to hunt on their own.

Juvie in Cypress Juvie in Cypress Juvie in Cypress Juvie in Cypress
Not a Juvie! Several of the young hawks flew, squealing, to nest tree, where they continued to whistle and beg. I walked over and took this photo, thinking it was one of the juvies. After enlarging it, however, I noticed the eye color and very long tail. It is Roxie! She is finally beginning to change, with the color of her eyes deepening to orange, and the feathers of her breast having a less distinct vertical striping.

Later in the afternoon, grandson Wyatt came by for a visit. As he came into the front door, he announced, "Nana, there are three hawks in the tree!" We all went outside for a look. Indeed there were three hawks, and I had no camera! As soon as we walked closer, a fourth hawk flew from higher on the tree where we could not see him. I followed him to a nearby cypress to confirm that he was a fledgling. Yes! Once again we have confirmed a brood of four!

We also found a mass of feathers in the yard, the remains of what probably was a grackle or starling. We did not see such evidence while the young were still in the nest, but now things are different. Providing food for four hungry fledglings is no doubt a challenge, and the parents do whatever is expedient to capture and prepare prey for their young. Grackle Maybe?

Continue to Chapter 19: Posing for Photos