Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hungry Raptor!

This Cooper's Hawk was hoping for an easy meal from my House Sparrow trap this weekend. It wasn't so lucky. (If you want to know how and why I trap HOSPs, click here.) Derek grabbed my camera and took the video below. Doesn't he/she look frustrated? Birders with more expertise than me will have to let me know if this is a male or female and an adult or juvenile. I'm assuming it's a juvenile based on the streaked rather than solid feathers.

And where were the chickens during all the commotion? Less than 15 feet away, safely hidden away under the front porch. Jim reported that Silver was a good rooster and did his best to protect his girls. My birds are used to seeing raptors on the Twelve Acres and they are very vigilant and cautious. I have yet to lose a bird to a raptor attack (or any other attack for that matter).

What bird left this footy print on the snowy sidewalk today? Whatever it was it has "thumbs". Aren't they cute?


  1. I didn't realize all that about the House Sparrows. How do I distinquish House Sparrows from other sparrows? Tons of sparrows and wrens, I can't tell 'em apart, sleep in our thick bamboo patch in our poultry lot at night, we're talking hundreds of 'em. Then, they eat chicken food on the ground.

  2. Joanna, Here's a link that will help you ID the HOSPs from other birds: http://www.sparrowtraps.net/why_trap_sparrows.htm

    It's easy to distinguish them once you know what to look for. I've found that with a few exceptions only "trash" birds will be dumb enough to get caught in my trap. I doubt you'd catch any wrens; they're not seed-eaters. Also check any bird book for ID tips. I use Audubon's and Sibley's bird guides.

  3. The hawks must be getting hungry to come that close! After our close encounter this summer, they've left us alone. I hope it stays that way. I'm more worried about the sharp-shinned hawks that hang around in the winter. Of course they couldn't carry off an entire bird, but they could sure do some damage. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    I have no idea who made the tracks. How big were they? I couldn't judge by the picture.

  4. Susan, I hope the hawks stay away from your birds too. I remember that scare you had this summer and how relieved you were when none were harmed. I think a Sharpie would have to be pretty desperate with hunger to take on a chicken. Let's hope so anyway!

    Those footy prints were roughly chicken-sized! ;)

  5. Oh! DUH! That one went swoosh right over my head! LOL

  6. Great pic of the hawk looking for a free handout! Whenever my guineas go off I first look up in the sky to see if it's a hawk or eagle (followed by ground predators). I've been lucky that they have left my poultry alone. (Though I do think I had a couple young guineas picked up by owls)

  7. Wow! Awesome video! We have either a Cooper's Hawk who sometimes gets ahold of pigeons in our backyard. I pray they won't bother my chickens!

  8. Wrensong, I've read that Guineas are particularly alert "watch dogs". I like the way they look, especially the lighter colored ones.

    CCL, hawks are really good at dining on pigeons. A few large cities have introduced Peregrine Falcons to help reduce the pigeon populations. It's a win-win solution.

    Paula, me too! Wait till I get duck foot prints in the snow!

  9. Well, that Silver is a good rooster. Most of the roosters we have had through the years are found in behind and under the hens in times of trouble.

  10. I don't know who I feel more sorry for, the raptor or the sparrows! Love the footprints in the snow though.

  11. This video is really amazing! Frustrated hawk and terrified sparrows. How many did you catch.,..and then what id dyou do with them.
    Poor hawk must have been desperately hungry.
    Way to go Silver for protecting his harem. :)

    New Mexico


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