RIGHT IN OUR BACKYARDS: Cooped Up Cooper’s Hawk Flies the…

They say that truth can be stranger than fiction, and that sometimes is the case with the wildlife in my neighborhood.

a18 cooper hawk
Published April 8, 2013 3:51 PM
3 min read

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a18 cooper hawkThey say that truth can be stranger than fiction, and that sometimes is the case with the wildlife in my neighborhood.

 

By Bill Lawyer 

 

a18 cooper hawkThey say that truth can be stranger than fiction, and that sometimes is the case with the wildlife in my neighborhood. 

 

I’ve had run-ins with woodpeckers drilling holes in my cedar shingle siding. I’ve resorted to using dried bull blood to stop deer from eating my plants – and cleaned up numerous piles of deer droppings deposited overnight in my backyard. 

 

Several years ago I had a close encounter with a young skunk which had a Yoplait yogurt cup stuck on his head. He was banging it on my side doorstep. I hoped he’d go away, but hours later he was still at it. So, I put an old shower curtain over me and pulled the cup off. Luckily, I didn’t get sprayed. I hope he enjoyed the yogurt.

 

Just last week I happened to run into one of my neighbors, Bill Harris, who is an avid bird watcher. He and his neighbors, the Hansens, share a driveway, and each of their homes has a front porch. 

 

One morning the Harrises heard loud noises coming from the Hansens’ screened-in porch. Bill went for a closer look and determined that it was a hawk – a Cooper’s hawk, in fact. 

 

The strange part of the story is that the porch door was closed, and there were no openings in the screening. Well, that’s not exactly true. There were a number of torn and scratched areas in the screening where the hawk had obviously tried to get out. 

 

a18 torn screenApparently, the door had been left open at some point, the hawk had gone in to get out of the cold at night, and the Hansens had closed their door, not realizing they had an unexpected guest.

 

So Bill came up with a plan. He opened the porch screen door wide, then walked around to the other side of the porch. 

 

Sure enough, almost instantly the raptor flew out of the porch doorway like a hawk out of hell (or “heck” since this is a family newspaper). 

 

This being one of those rare occasions where no one happened to have a smart phone-camera handy, we have no video record of this exciting encounter, and nothing to post on YouTube. But until it’s repaired, you can see the shredded sections of screen where the hawk tried to make his escape. 

 

a18 adult coopers hawkThis was not a random occurrence, however. The Harrises have an extensive bird feeding operation in their backyard, which attracts its share of predators – cats, coyotes, and birds of prey in particular. In recent weeks, the couple spotted a Cooper’s hawk stalking their feeder. 

 

That’s probably why, once the hawk was released, Dorothy Harris says it perched in a nearby tree for several hours – no doubt checking the feeding possibilities – right in their backyard. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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