Friday, January 6, 2012

Cooper's Hawk takes an American Coot

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, panic ensued at the feeding area outside our bird window at Southeastway Park. A tiny titmouse, in its frantic flight to get away, crashed directly into our window and tumbled to the ground below. The reason for all the frenzy soon was evident. A striking male Cooper's hawk landed on a limb above the lifeless bird, hopped down and swiftly flew off with its prey. We stood there, breatheless, watching the entire event unfold.

So you can imagine the surprise when this past week we came across the scene of another male Cooper's Hawk, this time at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, TX. Our guide, Kyle, spotted it under a bush near the board walk. Our birding group quietly walked by, many of us snapping photos, as we watched it feed on an American Coot! I had never seen a Cooper's Hawk take such large prey before! I have seen Bald Eagles take coots, but never a Cooper's Hawk. For those that are not familiar with American Coots, they are a black, duck-like bird that can weigh from 1 to 2 pounds. You can view some photos here. A large male Cooper's hawk can weighs less than a pound. Quite a feat for it to kill a coot and drag it under the bush. Kyle thought a female would be able to fly off with the coot. What an amazing sight!StumbleUpon

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