Tim and I share a birthday. For years we have done something on that day. Yesterday was no exception. This year we opted for a quiet day in the bosque and along the banks of the Rio Grande. It was a spectacular, cloudless afternoon. We saw a lot of crows, some geese, and a couple of cranes. Over the next couple of weeks many more cranes will be arriving. Yesterday, above all, colors took center stage.
Silver, one of the Price cats, seemed to be watching for his people’s return. As you can see, Tim had cameras with him.
Young Cooper’s Hawk’s In-the-Trees Courtship Display
Courtship display did not even enter my head as I photographed this young Cooper’s hawk putting on some kind of display in a large juniper tree in my neighbor’s back yard. I knew I had never seen anything quite like it, and I felt very lucky to have photographed it. I posted some of the images some time ago, and then things in my life got busy. Then they got even busier.
At the moment, I am still busy, but, at least temporarily, things seem somewhat stable. 2016 has started off great in terms of productivity with photography and photo essays. Color vision is my current passionate interest. In working on that, however, I came across the images of the hawk display. Over time I have come to realize what that display was: a courtship display. This behavior is described in the literature, but photographic documentation is scarce. I decided to take a little break from the color vision, and publish the images, both in paperback format and Kindle format. This is the first volume in a series, “As Seen in New Mexico…”
“Cooper’s Hawk Courtship Display” will be available in both formats at Amazon some time in June (mid-to-late). I’ll post when they are available at my Amazon page.
This is the Kindle cover, as well as the front cover for the paperback:
Was this young male just confused, or was there method in his madness??? Stay tuned…
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.
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.
Hawk, hanging out in the pine tree outside my kitchen window – can you spot it?
(This could make a jig saw puzzle. 😉 )
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.