Late-morning hawk watching – Part 2
A few weeks after watching a red-shouldered hawk hunting at a pond’s edge (previous blog), I had the good fortune to spot another raptor busy at a water source.
Our area had had a dry spell and the creek in a nearby city park was fairly low. Various birds were calling loudly on both sides of the creek, and I hoped to photograph some of them. The birds kept out of sight in the foliage, however.
When I finally peered down at the creek, the reason for the avian chorus became obvious. A beautiful Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii) was wading in the shallow water.
S/he kept looking up and around as the other birds vocalized non-stop; they were warning one another of the predator’s presence, with the blue jays being especially raucous.
At first, I thought the hawk wanted to bathe but was hesitating because of the warning racket being broadcast by the other birds.
At one point, the raptor sat down, but it didn’t splash in the water.
S/he then stood up and ruffled the feathers that had been in the water.
All the while, the Cooper’s hawk peered up and around.
Then the bird began peering down at the water. I didn’t see any creatures there, but the raptor did.
Finally, the predator stopped watching the other birds, dipping its beak into the water while protecting its eyes with its nictitating membranes.
A few times, the hawk came up with a small fish or other water creature but I couldn’t really tell what the prey was since it was swallowed rather rapidly.
After about 20 minutes, the raptor seemed satisfied – or it was tired of the cacophony accompanying its hunting foray – and s/he flew up into a nearby tree. Later, I spotted the bird standing in the creek further downstream; perhaps a bath was going to take place after all. I didn’t stay any longer, however, as chores were calling to me. So I left grateful for the chance to spend time with this gorgeous creature on a late sunny morning. 😊