Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now in Paperback

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now in Paperback as Well as Kindle at Amazon

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display is now available in paperback format as well as Kindle format at This was a very unusual display, one I was able to catch in photographic images almost by serendipity.

Both formats contain 32 images of this young hawk’s display. A friend wrote last night

I just read it and loved it! The last few images looks like he was bowing at the end of his performance. Amazing! I’m so glad you caught this.

Another friend noted in a review

The most interaction I ever got from Cooper’s Hawks is when they would often bring their catches and sit on a branch that extended over our deck and eat dinner with us.

The Cooper’s Hawk courtship display Susan captured is what makes this book so special and fun. It’s a short visual chronicle of a display rarely given a private exhibition to anyone but a female hawk.

The paperback edition is $12.99. The Kindle edition is $4.99. The title is part of Amazon’s MatchBook program; anyone who purchases the paperback may purchase the Kindle for $1.99 instead of $4.99. Suitable for all ages.

courtship display
Back and Front Paperback Cover

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now Available

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display Now Available as Kindle on Amazon

Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display is now available at Amazon in a Kindle version. A paperback edition is also coming.

Can be read on most devices with the free Kindle app. (See end of post for link.)

The volume contains 32 images taken on August 3, 2014. At the time, I knew I had witnessed something remarkable. I knew it was a very intense encounter. Initially, I took it to be some type of territorial display.

This spring, after doing some reading and going back through the images, I came to realize it was something quite different. The behavior is described in the literature, but this on the ground (more precisely, in the trees) display is not well documented photographically.

The encounter with this beautiful young hawk was serendipitous. The display was something I knew nothing about until I saw it that day, and it was almost two years later before I grasped its meaning and the insights it gave into the life of a male Cooper’s hawk.

Cooper's Hawk Courtship Display
Young Male Cooper’s Hawk

In the past couple of years I have had the opportunity to see and to photograph some rather amazing events that I will remember for the rest of my life – the Blood Red Total Lunar Eclipse of September 2015; the Alignment of Jupiter and Venus in the early morning hours of 2015; and I would add this hawk encounter to that list of things that became important to me as observations of life. – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Cooper’s Hawk at the Restaurant

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk, at “The Restaurant”

Cooper’s hawks visit frequently. I have seen one in the yard each day for the past week. I like to see the hawks. They are magnificent birds. But, I don’t want my little birds to be a daily meal. I think it is time for me to take down these bird feeders for the little birds for a bit, until this Cooper’s Hawk stops coming by every afternoon.

Cooper's hawk
Cooper’s Hawk, hanging out waiting for an easy dinner

This part of Albuquerque, with its “urban forests,” is home to a very dense population of Cooper’s hawks – as dense as in any of their natural habitats. They are very successful in this urban environment, partly because of people like me who attract their meals for them. The hawks have to eat, too, but I don’t have to make it too easy for them.

Spot the Hawk

Cooper's hawk

The Hawk of Albuquerque’s “Urban Forests”

Hawk, hanging out in the pine tree outside my kitchen window – can you spot it?
(This could make a jig saw puzzle. 😉 )

Cooper's hawk
Cooper’s Hawk, hanging out in the pine tree outside my kitchen window, waiting for dinner to arrive.

As I have said here before, the density of the Cooper’s hawk in the “urban forests” of Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights is thought to be as high as in any of this hawk’s “natural environments.” It has adapted well to life with humans. After all, we put out birdseed and other food for the little birds, and the hawks seem to appreciate our efforts and to thrive.

This is a large pine tree in my back yard, and I know that white-winged doves and scrub jays have had nests in that tree over the years. I always look forward to the fledgling jays (later in the year), and I am not overjoyed that the hawk is now using this as a hiding spot to wait for prey.

I was washing dishes when I caught sight of the hawk napping in the tree. It did not seem to mind being photographed as long as I was in the kitchen, but it flew when I went out.

Given the frequency with which I am seeing hawks in my yard this year, I expect other photographic opportunities for them. I’m not so sure about little fledglings of other birds later on, though…

This hawk is more mature than the one photographed in August and whose images I posted a few days ago. That was a juvenile Cooper’s. I do not know that this is the same hawk, just more mature and with plumage reflecting that. As many hawks as are known to be in this area, it could be a different hawk, of course. But, I want to think it is the same hawk that has been hanging around. 🙂

Although it is a bird of prey, the Cooper’s hawk is a beautiful bird of which I have become quite fond.

Cooper’s Hawk Visits Again

Cooper's hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper's hawk
Cooper’s Hawk

The Cooper’s Hawk that put on quite a display in August of 2014 and that drops by periodically was here again yesterday afternoon, looking for a meal. It was putting on a different show this time, flying all around a pyracantha bush in which a small bird was hiding. The hawk did not like diving into that pyracantha bush, and made multiple attempts, After trying, it would land back on the fence or on a tree branch, and then fly around and try to enter the bush again.

After many attempts, it finally just dived head long into the pyrancantha bush, which flushed out the little bird that had been seeking refuge there. As soon as the little bird flew out (it was probably either a sparrow, a junco, or a finch; I did not get a good look), the hawk caught it, and did exactly what these hawks are known to to. It squeezed the prey in its talons until the little bird became motionless. The hawk then flew off into the trees to enjoy its meal.

Cooper's hawk with prey
Cooper’s Hawk with Prey in Its Talons

I did not have my camera handy at the kitchen window yesterday, so I simply watched the entire show from there. These images are from August, but this second shows clearly the typical way these hawks are known for treating their prey.

I live in a part of Albuquerque now known for its high concentration of Cooper’s hawks. From the Albuquerque Journal last year:

Cooper’s hawks are primarily woodland birds, and we have built an expansive urban forest across the Northeast Heights. The urban neighborhoods on the east side of the river are older, and therefore their trees are more mature, making them a better “forest” for the birds, Madden suggested.

This is a beautiful bird. I have come to accept that every now and then it will find a meal in my yard. Just so it doesn’t happen too often…

Birds of New Mexico

Sandhill Cranes
Birds of New Mexico

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes birds of new mexico
Sandhill Cranes, Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico

Sandhill Cranes Birds of New Mexico
Sandhill Cranes in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico

Sandhill cranes are common birds of New Mexico between late October and early February. The Bosque del Apache wildlife area is perhaps the best known of the areas to find them in their winter home, but in reality they can be found all along the Rio Grande in New Mexico, from north of Albuquerque continuing south past the Bosque del Apache.

In flight these are elegant, graceful birds. Maybe not quite so much on land 🙂 Sandhill cranes are loved in New Mexico!

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle birds of new mexico
Golden Eagle, Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico

The Golden Eagle is another bird of New Mexico, although not found in such great numbers as the sandhill crane is found in winter. This photograph is from the same place in the Rio Grande Valley where many of the crane images on this blog were made.

Eagles are magnificent, imposing birds of New Mexico!

The Rio Grande is a wonderful waterway along which to observe – and photograph – a variety of birds common to New Mexico!

Cooper’s Hawk on a Cold, Wet Day

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk, Hunkered Down on a Cold, Wet Day in Albuquerque

It was a cold, wet morning in Albuquerque.

This Cooper’s Hawk has been a regular visitor since August. It usually moves around a lot, often flying in for a meal and leaving when it is finished eating.

It was hunkered down like this when I first saw it on this day, and it stayed for about three hours. (It must have had its breakfast before settling down in that tree).

Other than keeping a watchful eye on me when I was photographing it, it did not appear disturbed by my presence.

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk Display
Cooper’s Hawk, Immature

This weekend, I had the opportunity to observe and photograph an immature Cooper’s hawk for almost an hour. I was very fortunate in actually seeing it fly into a juniper tree, where it was quite well hidden. I would not have seen it, had I not seen it fly in.

Cooper's Hawk
Cooper’s Hawk Display

Over the years, I have seen this and other hawks in the neighborhood. This is the longest time, however, I have had the opportunity to be “up close and personal” in such an intimate way with any wild animal, bird or otherwise. I knew at the time I had seen something extraordinary. Later, processing the images over several days, I saw many things I had not “seen” at the time. I have evolved from finding this an “interesting’ encounter to developing a tremendous amount of respect for this young hawk. This slide show contains many images from the encounter; some better than others. I include so many in hopes of sharing the depth of my encounter with this bird and its with me.

To see the image in full screen mode, click on the button in the lower right hand corner. To control the volume of the soundtrack, click on the button just to the left of it. I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Cooper's hawk
Close up of talon with prey

Albuquerque seems to be an ideal spot for the Cooper’s Hawk! I do indeed live in an “urban forest” area, and my own yard could be described as such. I feed many small birds at a variety of feeders, an enjoy seeing them daily and as they change seasonally.

I had accidentally seen this hawk fly into the tree. When I heard my scrub jays going nuts, I was concerned about a little fledgling scrub jay I have been attempting to encourage to come closer by feeding peanuts when I was out. I had been out and taken a few images, but the bird was hidden enough I did not try for more, initially. But, when I heard the jays, I thought if I went out, perhaps the hawk would fly someplace else for dinner that particular day. I took my camera, although I thought good images would not be possible.

The hawk had moved to a much better spot for photography. Still concerned about the fledgling jay, and with the hawk showing no signs of leaving, I decided to keep moving closer and closer. When I got close enough, this hawk put on an amazing display, which I interpreted (and still do) as a challenge to me. It was beautiful and mesmerizing; I had never seen anything like it. It seemed to go on forever, and I kept photographing. In reality, the entire display lasted 18 seconds!!!

Study on Cooper’s hawks in Albuquerque

Cornell Labs Information Page on Cooper’s Hawks

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