Cooper's Hawk 3
Accipiter cooperii
22 Dec. 2013

This has been the winter of the Cooper's hawk.

Of course, during the bad weather, any accipiter would want to take advantage of a bird feeding area: fly by food, so to say.

Generally, a hawk takes flight as soon as it spots me staring, so there isn't much opportunity to photograph anyone nearby. My luck changed this season when I noticed an immature Cooper's hawk on the backyard fence in the beginning of December.

Immature Cooper's hawk on the fence
  I had to photograph the hawk through the door screen, which acts like a softening filter, but there's no mistaking the yellow eye and the streaked breast that signify a Cooper's born this year.

The immature did not stay very long, but the next Cooper's has, having been here about a week so far. For the first two days, I had only glimpses of him. But on December 14, he lingered on the backyard fence long enough for me to get a few quick photos.

Cooper's hawk on the fence
  On the following day, I saw him in the bramble behind the backyard fence.
Cooper's hawk in bramble behind fence

On noticing me, he next flew into dense bramble about a hundred feet (30 m) away. (That called for manual focus, to try to blur out the in between branches.)
Cooper's hawk in deep bramble

The Cooper's guessed what I was doing, flew farther away, and put a tree trunk between the two of us. Consequently, no more photos that day.

On subsequent days, I've had fleeting glimpses of the Cooper's hawk, which now has the nickname Houdini, for his ability to disappear on a moment's notice.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the Pentax SMCD 60-250mm lens for the first photo and the Sigma 150-500mm lens, for the final three photos, during December 2013.

My Pennsylvania bird list   ||   Cooper's hawk 2010   ||   Cooper's hawk in a mob

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