Cooper’s hawk sits down to dinner in a local backyard

SUSAN BOAC PHOTO

During the Great Backyard Bird Count, held every President’s Day weekend, I was in the comfort of my lovely home scanning, listening and recording every bird around.

I left the room for just a couple of minutes, and when I came back, the cooper’s hawk was crouched in the garden under the fir with feathers floating around her. To say the least, I was disappointed to have missed this excitement. On later examination, I determined the bird eaten for breakfast was a Eurasian collared dove, the medium-sized bird that coopers prefer.

Several weeks ago I noticed a cooper’s hawk hanging out in my neighbor’s large alder tree. When I noticed a lack of birds at my feeders, I look around for the cooper’s. Sadly, I think she sees my backyard as a bit of a smorgasbord: Cooper’s hawks dine on medium-sized birds and small mammals.

I was also honored to watch and listen to a pair of coopers whoop it up in a spruce behind the Seaside Library. They were making sounds consistent to mating rituals, but they remained on opposite sides of a tree. It was wonderful, and I watched until my neck gave out.

I have also been enjoying a pair of peregrine falcons who frequent my backyard as well. Last year, there was an alarming number of starving small hawks and falcons at the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Seeing many small raptors around this year makes me think that the balance between a large number of eagles, that were eating a lot of the prey of smaller raptors, is starting to even out.

Reminder: Coming up in April, the North Oregon Coast Birdathon, a one-day birding event in conjunction with 12 Days of Earth Day, will raise funds for The Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Join us for birding or help by sponsoring a participant. More info is on our Facebook page and www.twelvedaysofearthday.com.

After spending many hours with her avid birder parents, Susan has taken up birding as a passion, to the mixed emotions of her husband, Scott. The Boacs reside on the Neawanna Creek in Seaside where their backyard is a birder’s paradise.

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