Date: 11/24/21 6:36 am
From: Robert Mussey <mussey.robert...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Cooper's hawk: lost prey in brush
On the coldest morning of the year, I was headed out to fill the feeders
and heated water source outside the kitchen windows, and noticed no feeder
birds. That's usually a sure sign there's a Cooper's hawk around. Sure
enough, when I went out the back door, a big Cooper's flushed from under
the suet feeder and roosted only 20' away on our Asian pear tree, remaining
there while I filled the nearby feeders. His gaze remained fixed on the
spot under the suet. Conclusion: I had flushed him just after a kill, but I
didn't see a pile of feathers there, so couldn't be sure.

Once I went indoors, he flew back quickly from his perch to the area under
the suet feeder and proceeded to spend nearly 20 minutes hopping around and
searching with determination under the dense lilac foliage and in the dense
evergreen Vinca vines under the shrubs. Many times he completely
disappeared into the Vinca and other low evergreens, reappearing suddenly
at the far side on the gravel walk or rear granite steps. He knew it was
there somewhere.

This was a first-year adult, all streaked white-and-brown chest with no
reddish throat or breast, all puffed out in the cold, long tail with
rounded tip edges, and probably the closest look I've ever had at one.

After 20 minutes of dedicated hunting for its prey, it never found it, and
finally flew off towards the rear of our property. Not only is hunting
hard, but finding it after the kill is too.

Robert Mussey
Milton, Mass.

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