Restless Wings

Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) adult female

All that we behold is full of blessings.William Wordsworth, English romantic poet (1770-1850)

Seventeen days following the visit of a sharp-shinned hawk, came another.  This time, a Cooper’s hawk.  The hawk swooped with confidence, landing on a cedar branch just off the back deck.  Feathers ruffled, the hawk shook its wings and folded them.  I didn’t have my camera with me.  It was across the house zipped inside its pod.  I had to act fast . . . Should I stay and observe or go for the camera?  I went for the camera.  Seconds seemed like minutes.  En route, I popped the lens cap and switched on the camera.  Oh, please still be there, I said out loud.  To my surprise, she was still on her perch and, she was looking right at me, or at least in my direction.  She hadn’t seen me, and I wanted to keep it that way, at least until I could snap a few photos. 

The hawk grows restless and her patience wears thin.

I snuck past the glass doors, and into the kitchen.  Using the wall as a blind, I eased the camera lens to the edge of the window.  There was no time to work the settings.  There was barely enough time to adjust the focus.  The Cooper’s grasped the cedar branch, the one I had the tree cutters leave for this very purpose.  This branch is very popular with the birdies and other critters.  Should it ever break, I’ll attach another in its place.  My husband laughed, and so did the tree cutters.

This hawk was a beauty, and her timing perfect.  Noting the differences between the Cooper’s and the sharpie, I found their likeness uncanny.  The Cooper’s hawk was every bit the size of a crow that suggested this was a female.  (The sharpie, also large for its size, suggesting most likely, a female.)  The Cooper’s bluish-gray head, back, wings and tail meant she was an adult.  (The sharpie wore all brown that clearly stated immature.)  The Cooper’s thick yellow legs and toes further confirmed her identity.  (The sharpie had long, slender legs and toes.)  In flight, the Cooper’s hawk gave a powerful, but effortless, one-two flap of her wings, and glided to a maple tree.  (Sharpies flutter.) 

The hawk watches and waits.
She hears rustling in the leaves. It is only the wind.
There she goes!

The Cooper’s hawk was restless.  She paced back and forth along the branch opening and folding her wings numerous times. For a moment, she settled down to watch and listen.  A breeze shuffled the leaves on the ground, and her head pivoted.  Those big hawk eyes don’t miss a thing.  But, it was only the leaves, and not a creature stirred.   There would be no meal for this hawk, not here anyway, not today.  She soon lost interest, and away she flew on restless wings to find a more promising hunting ground.

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