It Caught My Eye: Coocoo For Cooper’s Hawk

Sorry to be so birdbrained, what with my previous post being about a great blue heron spotted in the Miracle Mile area yesterday, but I can’t help it if I keep encountering awesome avians on my bike rides to work. This morning while on Redondo Boulevard approaching 12th Street I was alerted to the immediate proximity of a Cooper’s hawk by its telltale alarm call, sounding very much like a staccato laugh.

Sure enough in a nearby tree on 12th there it sat all loud and proud. Given the difficulty I’ve had trying to photograph the flighty and elusive Cooper’s I’ve encountered around my house in Silver Lake, I was pleasantly surprised that this magnificent specimen had absolutely no issues with me getting all up under its business and snapping a few frames, like the one above.

After the jump, a few facts about the raptor, courtesy

  • The Cooper’s hawk was first described in 1828 by Charles Bonaparte, a French naturalist and ornithologist who was the nephew of Napoleon. It was named after William Cooper, who collected the first specimen.
  • It captures a bird with its feet, and will squeeze it repeatedly to kill it, instead of biting the prey to kill it in the fashion of falcons. It has also been known to drown its prey.
  • They capture prey from cover or while flying quickly through dense vegetation. This can be dangerous, a recent study found that 23% had healed fractures in the bones of the chest, especially of the furcula, or wishbone.

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