Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Life With a Cooper's Hawk Family

Guest post by Michael Ehrhardt

I have been following a Cooper's Hawk for 18 months now. I have been able to watch the nest last spring and this year. The hawk got used to my presence and I was able to get quite close.

I also saw her offspring in the Sabino wash.

This May, five eggs were reported by a crane operator who was pruning mesquites. Two siblings appeared 15 days ago, and this June 2nd, flew for the first time.

This morning I got up at 5 am again and walked to the nest after toast and coffee. I arrived at the nest at 7:05 am. As the day before, a parent flew out of the nest and headed east up the Sabino wash. Soon the two youngsters got out of the nest and perched on the limb in front.

They were both eager to flex their wings.

His sibling did a "I can do that, too" --

One soon moved up the limb and into a maze of small branches. He kept moving into the tangle and it became very difficult to see him. The other remained on the limb and began exercising her wings. Finally. at 7:54 am, spreading them and taking her first flight, to a nearby mesquite.

She seems to have that "Did I do that?" look. She then flew again and headed into the mesquite bosque on a neighbor' estate. That is fenced, of course, so we can't follow the hawks there.

Almost an hour late the boy started moving toward more open branches and began doing wing exercises. His then moved to another branch and stretched out again.

And he then, at 8:52 am took his first flight, going west into the bosque.

I did not see the youngsters again. They are somewhere nearby, in the neighbor's property. The mom became agitated as I moved around and gave me a serious warning.

But the mom I have followed now for 18 months has almost finished her parenting job for this year.

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