Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hawk Watching

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The other morning Dee and I spent a very enjoyable half-hour watching our resident Copper's Hawk hunting a squirrel in the street outside our house.

When we first saw it, the Cooper's was perched on a truck and waiting for the squirrel to emerge from its hiding place under a nearby car. The hawk eventually got the squirrel to move by flying down onto the pavement and peering under the car.

For the next 20 minutes the two animals played hide and seek in a tree. The Cooper's would chase the squirrel up and down and round and round the trunk, and then up into the branches. Every so often it would seem to give up the chase and would sit on a branch and start preening. Then the squirrel would move onto the same branch and the chase would begin again.

Later the Cooper's moved to sit on a nearby roof, only to start the chase again when the squirrel came and sat in the middle of the driveway below.


Eventually, the hawk flew off and hid high up in a tree across the road. 


When the squirrel again began wandering about on the driveway and lawn opposite, the Cooper's flew over and gave chase.

In the end, the Cooper's gave up and flew to the trees in back of our house, presumably in search of easier prey, such as a White-winged Dove or a rat.

I'm really not sure why the chase continued for as long as it did. It seemed to me that the squirrel deliberately taunted the Cooper's every time the latter decided to give up the hunt. I have noticed squirrels toying with dogs and cats in this way. However, it could be that the hawk was being devious and was trying to lull the squirrel into a false sense of security by occasionally pretending to abandon the chase and to be more concerned with preening. Whatever the reality, Dee and I were amazed that the Cooper's was willing to spend a full 35 minutes (by my watch) hunting a single squirrel.
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4 comments:

Leslie Lim said...

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Jim
www.imarksweb.org

Leslie Lim said...

I will keep your new article. I really enjoyed reading this post, thanks for sharing.

Jim
www.imarksweb.org

Jeff said...

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