Continuing with my baby bird series… Last year, I noticed a hawk family had taken up residence in the woods behind my home. I wasn’t “into” birding at that time, but was certainly interested in this new development. The impact they would have on my feeder birds was of concern as well. At that time, I observed what seemed to be two adults and a young hawk. I tried to figure out what type of hawks they were: Sharp shinned hawks or cooper’s hawks, I wasn’t sure.
This summer, equipped with binoculars, camera and Audubon app on my iPhone, I began noticing hawks in the yard again. But it seemed like they were EVERYWHERE. What the hawk was going on?!? One day, I looked up and saw FIVE hawks on one singular pine tree! Strangely, most, if not all of them appear to be young. It has been a backyard hawkstravaganza!! With the aforementioned equipment, I determined them to be Cooper’s hawks, which are common in my area. Judging by appearance, one might think sharp shinned hawks, but these ladies and gents are too large. Also, their calls are different & what I’ve been hearing are definitely Cooper’s hawks’ kiks, caks & calls.
Having these glorious creatures in my yard has been mixed–really fun at times & other times, a little hawkward. It’s been exciting to watch them fly and swoop through the yard, across the deck & into the woods. Also, it’s been entertaining to observe these young cooper’s hawks romp and play in the woods behind my yard, chasing each other, hopping around, leaping over fallen trees and vocalizing. However, in my yard at the same time have been two bird houses containing bluebird & house wren hatchlings as well as a feeder full of songbirds. After reading up on hawks, I stopped stocking the feeder. The experts say once the feeder birds move elsewhere for lack of food, so will the hawks. It’s been two weeks since I stopped filling the feeder and the hawk presence has decreased a little, but they are still around. In fact, I spotted a red shouldered hawk in my yard the other day, but no good photos. Today, the baby birds have all fledged from the bird houses, so I may chance filling the feeder again soon.
What about you? Have you noticed hawks in your area? They really are fun to watch with their soaring and daring flight moves! While they enjoy feasting on our beautiful songbirds (bad!), they also feed on small mammals such as mice (good!).
Thank you so much for reading this far. I know this was a longer entry than usual and it took some commitment to read it to the end! Hopefully, the end result will be for you to go on a hawkventure of your own! By September in the mid-atlantic area, many varieties of hawks will be seen migrating south in large numbers, so dust off your binoculars and go find some!!