Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hawks Are Backyard Badasses And Here's Video Proof

I was putting out the recycling yesterday when I heard a flapping from the neighbor's backyard. By the time I'd grabbed my camera, it was already over - a young Cooper's hawk had nabbed a pigeon and was settling down for a leisurely lunch.

If common hawks like Cooper's, red-tailed and sharp-shinned aren't among your favorite wildlife, they should be. You can spot them just about everywhere, watching rural fields from dead trees, watching the highway median from a lamp-post (my girlfriend never gets tired of me pointing them out), watching for A-Rods at Fenway, or watching you from your office.

In urban areas like New Bedford, hawks are downright essential. Pigeons aren't much better than rats with wings and can overrun downtown areas, spreading disease with their droppings (note that the problem is worsening with warming winters - thanks, climate change!). Sure, bald eagles may look majestic fishing out in placid ponds, but are they willing to confront an URBAN SCOURGE like an avian Charles Bronson? I think not.

And not only are hawks tough, males are devoted husbands and hard-working dads:
Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and may mate for life. They make stick nests high above the ground, in which the female lays one to five eggs each year. Both sexes incubate the eggs for four to five weeks, and feed the young from the time they hatch until they leave the nest about six weeks later.
So sensitive & caring! Now watch one eat a pigeon:

Update: Birding blogger Dendroica pointed out on Twitter that this wasn't a red-tailed hawk as I originally assumed, but a Cooper's hawk. The juvenile Cooper's coloring is similar to a red-tailed, but I should've known better from its small size. The Green Miles will try to do better next time!
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