We have a new predator on scene. A big a$$ Cooper's Hawk only known as She-Beast. It's a term my friend Tracy and I refer to a certain big a$$ Peregrine Falcon we know and love.
With this bird on the hunt here, everything clears out, even the other predators. No Shirley Sharp-shin, no Waldo the Cooper's Hawk. How do I know this is not Waldo? My observations have me believe Waldo is younger, smaller/thinner (male?) and lighter in color. The personality between the two differs. Waldo carries a curious attitude, not quite disturbed by my presence. This one, She-Beast, wants nothing to do with me when I am outside. First sight of me when she's hunting the yard and off she goes.
I know it's a bird eat bird world out there with these creatures, I accept that, but I don't have to like it. I won't interfere as in chase her away but I won't hide indoors when I have things to do out back and she's hunting. Mind you, I do back off temporarily while she's caught her lunch and is having it. I know I've mentioned in other blogs about letting them have their well deserved meal. I spooked a Red-tail one day and I felt bad, it left it's kill in the snow, barely eaten because I stepped outside.
She-Beast first made her presence known last Thursday during the snow storm when she caught a Starling and ate behind the house next door. I watched her from the kitchen window. It was so tempting to try and sneak out there for some good gore shots but I didn't.
Friday she flew in fast and hard, and nailed one of the Pigeons. Once again taking it down in the yard next door but this time way at the back. I know none of my birds were present this day (so far), but it still sucked for this other Pigeon. I let her be for quite some time to eat it before I went out the front of the house, snuck up the side and tried for a few photos. She is a magnificent specimen of this species. We've not had a Cooper's Hawk like this in the yard for some years now. The last one was taking 3 Pigeons a week!
She-Beast trying to get a big piece of meat down.
Look at the crop on her as she is done with the meal.
I do fear for my friendly flock but they seem smart enough to back off with the activity. I've not seen Pierre or any of the others since the day of the storm after the Cooper's had left, done with her lunch. Funny how the birds know these things.
There was one really angry black Squirrel that raced up and down, and around the tree base near the Hawk while she ate. He made lots of funny noises at her through this which got her attention and she'd flare right up at him, which was something to see. It was her defense, or perhaps a warning to Mr. Squirrel to back off, by making herself look twice her size. Our Shirley has done this before as well.
She-Beast and the Squirrel.
Shirley Sharp-shin trying to scare off a Squirrel as she sits on a Starling.
This Cooper's has made things quite interesting... and quiet. It was dismal numbers over the weekend for our counts with Project Feeder Watch. We saw her both days. She was the first bird to arrive on scene. It was a busy weekend for Angie and I, but I've found no new bird remains about the yards.
I shouldn't call her the enemy as I don't hate this bird.
I worry about my buds. I'm allowed to worry about them even though I know this is not their only threat out there. They are my little friends and add to my mornings.