Kind of a fun encounter although the perch this raptor chose was less than ideal. I had just finished paying a visit to my local owls and was heading for home when I spotted this Cooper’s hawk on a light pole over a somewhat busy suburban street. While these guys are quite common, they are not commonly seen, preferring to hide out in the thick of trees, keeping watch and being ready to strike any unsuspecting prey. As a result, I don’t get to photograph them often so was happy for the opportunity, even if I wished it had chosen a better spot to hang out.
As I do every year, I sit down and pick my personal ‘top 25’ of each of my photo subjects from my previous photo year (Oct – Sept). For the first of these, let’s start with raptors – falcons, hawks and eagles. These impressive masters of the sky oftentimes donate my photography and it is easy to see why.
Jumping back to Christmas Eve for this pic.
I had stopped by an area open space where I have had good luck with a variety of raptors. While I had seen Cooper’s hawks in the area, they were always elusive and quick to depart the area long before I could get a shot.
On this morning, one decided it was perfectly fine with the human intruding on its space. It gave me a ton of nice poses, almost entirely ignoring me and staying in the same spot for more than an hour.
The best part about these hawks I tend to think are those crazy eyes. So amazing!
A fun encounter yesterday afternoon. I was pulling my truck in the garage to change the oil on it (yes, I do it myself – haha) and I saw a relatively big bird fly onto my neighbor’s fence. Realizing what it was, I ran in and grabbed my camera, and managed a few shots of it.
This ferocious one was camped out next to my neighbor’s bird house and as Cooper’s love nothing more than a songbird for dinner, I am sure it was hoping for a meal. Unfortunately, a passing car scared it off without any real action to be seen.
These particular Cooper’s hawks have been in our neighborhood for a few years but I have only gotten pics of them a few times. Cooper’s have adapted very well to life in suburbia and are relatively common but not commonly seen as they prefer to hide themselves well within trees, waiting on their unsuspecting prey.
Just a very cool raptor posing proudly. These hawks are quite common but also very adept at staying buried in trees, out of sight. This is often done near suburban bird feeders where they wait to attack some smaller, unsuspecting little bird. This particular handsome fellow was quite willing to have its picture taken a few weeks ago, seen here taking a break from working on its nest.
A crazy fun encounter with this common but not-often-seen hawk and its perspective mate.
While photographing other birds at a lake this weekend, I kept hearing the unmistakable call of a Cooper’s. It was too much to resist, especially after catching a fleeting glimpse of it. I headed off in pursuit and eventually found this handsome fellow and his lady.
He was busy trying to impress her, gathering sticks and starting a new home. I observed them for a good hour, largely focusing on him as she was content to just sit and watch him work. He was very active, here, picking out the next stick to add to their home.
I absolutely love these guys although I have only photographed them a couple handfuls of times. Those ridiculous red eyes are absolutely fascinating to me.
You’ll find Cooper’s hawks across North America and they have learned to thrive in suburban areas. Oftentimes they take advantage of bird feeders, standing watch nearby, ready to swoop in and grab an unsuspecting dove, pigeon or starling. I have a pair in my neighborhood and have photographed them a couple of times but
Not that you ever really need another reason to visit your mom but I found one last night.
I went by to help her with some computer issues (the life of the family IT guy) and at one point went out to my truck to get something. As I closed the truck door, a great horned owl comes by fast and low with another bird in hot pursuit. They land at the park across the street and I can hear a Cooper’s hawk raising a big ruckus.
Of course I had my camera with me! I found them, and a crow, having a bit of a stare-down with the hawk and crow making a ton of noise. The owl finally had enough and took off right over me and the Cooper’s hawk gave pursuit.
In the end, the owl found a good, sheltered hiding place in a pine tree and the Cooper’s hawk perched nearby, drying itself out. It was raining and the light was horrible so the pics (especially the flyover) aren’t great but the story is and the action itself is fun to see. Taken in Brighton, #Colorado.
This was a fun and surprise encounter! We have a family of Cooper’s hawks in our neighborhood but getting pics of them has been very elusive. I see them somewhat frequently but rarely where I can get a shot.
Yesterday morning, while my wife and I were enjoying coffee on the patio, one did a close flyby. Of course, I didn’t have my camera ready.
Later in the morning, I ran a quick errand and as I was coming back, one flew right in front of my truck and landed in a nearby tree. I ran home, grabbed my camera, and upon returning found the hawk was not in the tree but instead taking a bath in some standing water in the gutter! Even better was that it didn’t mind me being right across the street from it and for 15 minutes I photographed it.
Certainly I would prefer a more natural setting but I won’t complain as these guys are just crazy cool with that beautiful plumage and those orange eyes.
Cooper’s have become well adapted to life in the city and it isn’t uncommon at all to find them in suburbia. They do prefer to stay well-hidden within trees so they aren’t often seen but they are there, watching, oftentimes preying on smaller birds.
So, I spent all morning out taking pics (or trying to!) and get nothing extraordinary. I come home, walk upstairs and I see the creature that gives me my best shots of the day in our backyard – a gorgeous Cooper’s hawk.
Initially it was sitting then it laid down as if guarding a kill. It flew off after a bit with nothing in its talons and at the spot it was, only a small pile of pine needles. Not sure what it thought it had caught.
Way cool to see these guys though. Those eyes are awesome! BTW, please excuse the dead grass you are seeing. That is a section of lawn we are preparing to xeriscape so I killed everything there. 😉
These are some of the coolest raptors you could hope to see. Their gray plumage is gorgeous and those eyes are nothing short of awesome!
These are another couple cool shots I recently unearthed as I was sorting through old pics. Taken back in April near a friend’s home where this guy and his mate were establishing their own home. We had tons of fun capturing pics as they worked.