[Tweeters] Cooper's Chase strategy
jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Tue Nov 19 18:59:17 PST 2019
Hi Tweets - Today in our yard in our yard, we witnessed a remarkable hunting strategy by a juvenile Cooper's Hawk: Kathleen saw the Coop fly along our very brushy fence line and come to rest on the open ground, directly under our sunflower seed feeder. He sat there for a bit, cocking his head and apparently listening intently for sounds in the thick, surrounding vegetation. He then hopped a few feet over to a low, very dense Daphne odora bush, about 3 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter, with a dense outer leaf cover and thick interior branching system. There was obviously a bird in there, as there often are, but this one had somehow given away his presence. The Coop flew at one side of the leaf canopy and then the other, back and forth, until finally, the unfortunate bird inside was flushed out. The bird, probably a Spotted Towhee or perhaps a Fox Sparrow (both often in there) crossed the 10-foot gap to the nearest dense and larger Rhododendron bush very quickly but the Coop anticipated this escape, and was very close behind. They both entered the rhody, almost simultaneously, and I don't know the outcome. I once watched a Coop actually enter a dense but small patch of Himalayan blackberry thicket chasing House Sparrows but they were able to out maneuver the much bigger bird while in the thicket. Today's bird seemed to have a better strategy for getting lunch out of a small dense patch of vegetation! Happy birding! - Jon
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