Coopers Hawk

A Coopers Hawk has been visiting our backyard perching on a feeder as above or even perching on the railing of the deck.

Its a juvenile hawk so it has not learned to stay away from people. Its beautiful and majestic but……..it feeds on birds so it has frightened the other birds away. I’d like to get more photos but don’t want to be feeding birds so that this one can eat them!

I needed help identifying this bird so I posted a photo on Nature Photographers Online Magazine — http://www.naturephotographers.net/ — in the Avian forum and very soon three bird experts let me know it wasn’t a Red Shouldered Hawk as I thought but a Coopers. NP is a great site for photography and nature. Many of the members who post there are pros — and they are very helpful when fellow members need help. I recommend it highly.

Of course when you observe wildlife and even feed them there will be moments of raw nature, some more pleasant to civilized humans than others.

House Wren Family

We also have a family of what I think is House Wrens living very close to our house in a bird house we put up. Its a really neat bird house that my daughter decorated with one of my photos then painted to match. There are baby birds now being feed by two parents. They come and go ignoring us for the most part. They will nest in the pocket of a shirt hung on a line to dry, I’ve read. This house must be an upscale one for them.

For more backyard wildlife stories here is a report I sent in to Marian Harman, the President of The Westford Conservation Trust who keeps tabs on local wildlife and writes a column about it in the local newspaper:

“This summer our back yard has had lots of activity. We rearranged our feeders and repaired a large one an have had many birds this year so far.

Lots of gold finches, blue jays, nuthatches, chickadees and cardinals. A few downy woodpeckers. For the first time we saw a red winged black bird at our feeder and one lone grackle — I’m used to seeing grackles by the dozens.

We have a pair of house wrens living in one of our bird houses with a noisy family. The house is right by a garden and our deck — lots of traffic as we go back and forth or sit and have lunch but the wrens just go about their way feeding the babies and singing (not as much singing now that the babies are always hungry).

Early in July we had daily visits from a single female wild turkey. Strangely we saw a posting at the grassy pond for a missing female turkey. It said it ‘looked wild.’ We thought for sure it was ‘our’ turkey. But when we called up the woman told us that hers was missing for only 2 days and we had been seeing ours for at least four or five. Then we saw ours again after the missing one had been found. Lately — no turkey.

We saw two deers on the evening of Tuesday July 24th — a doe and fawn in the trees between our house and the one in back.

For the last two days — starting July 23 or 24th — we have had a small young hawk visiting our yard. (I think its an immature one because I can’t identify it from books. I hope to get a photo.) I saw it sitting on top of a feeder, then in our fenced in garden with small pond. It seems to live in trees around our house — we hear it during the day when we don’t see it. I imagine the birds are good prey for it and the fenced in garden has snakes, toads and frogs. In fact about a week ago I saw a snake with a toad’s leg in its mouth. It couldn’t swallow the toad on a bet but it held on for a while — the toad trying to pull free the snake trying to swallow him or pull him into the rocks the snake lives in. When the snake noticed me (I think) it let go and retreated. But then the toad looked around, turned around and followed the snake into its den! I guess they both live in those rocks.”

Snaking trying to eat big toad

The toad’s coloration and rough hide make it blend in with the rocks. Apparently it didn’t fool the snake.

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