speaking of Cooper

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

We are fortunate enough to have a Cooper's Hawk that considers our neighbourhood his habitat.  We live in an area with mature trees (some 50-80 feet tall, elms, oak, maples) and he considers it "prime hunting territory" since it's loaded with plenty of prey (birds, squirrels, chipmunks, mice).

When our dog was a puppy, we were reluctant to let him out in the yard alone, since he was about 4-5 pounds, and we'd seen the Cooper's Hawk swoop down and lift a rabbit of similar size away... only to return the headless body to our yard later.  Hawks and other raptors relish the eyes and brain, so often they'll cut off the head (their beaks are powerful and sharp), and carry it away to enjoy later... so as not to overwhelm their energy by carrying the entire body.

Gus-gus is now about 12.5 pounds, but we still keep a close eye on him, when he's in the yard.  I doubt that the Cooper's Hawk (which is one of the smaller hawks) could lift him at his current weight... but those talons could do some serious damage.

Yesterday, my wife returned home, and was about to let the dog out into the yard, when she noticed our Cooper's Hawk, calmly sitting on our Cape Hatteras braided rope hammock.  When she opened the back door, the hawk didn't fly away... he just stared at her.  That's when my wife noticed that he had something "grisly" in his claw.

She took a broom out, and shoe-ed him away... but she had to wave it around wildly to make him take notice.  After he'd left, we found the remnants of his feast.  It appears that he'd caught another bird (maybe a sparrow, or a junco), because there were feathers scattered all around the base of the hammock.

Gus spent a great deal of time investigating the kill-zone... sniffing at each and every tuft of feather... (and then he pee-d on them)... it was an adventure.

A Cooper's Hawk is a woodland Hawk.  You don't typically see them soaring in the sky, or large open spaces, like an eagle.  They're only about a foot high, have a dappled brown breast, grey feathers, and a slightly blue tinged tail.  if you see one up close, as my wife and I have been fortunate enough to do, you'll also note their brilliant orange or reddish eyes.  (the hawk in this photo appears to be a Juvenile... ain't he purty??) They are often confused with their slightly larger cousins, the Goshawk and the Sharp Shinned Hawk, who can be 18 inches tall or taller.

Ain't nature grand?

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®

Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois


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Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

I think that if I had this raptor in my yard, I'd keep an eye on the family pooch too!

Nice job by Gus to show who's boss of the yard by the way!!!

Jan 15, 2010 02:11 AM #1
Mott Kornicki
• Waterway Realty, Realtors® • Broker • South East Florida • - Miami Beach, FL
Waterway Realtors, Notary Public


Nature is amazing... the good, the bad and the ugly. The beauty that GOD has delivered and created never seases to amaze me. Plants, Animals, Weather, Water, Sky, Human, Minerals.... Nature ..... I wonder... How can something so beautiful be also so destructive?

Jan 15, 2010 02:15 AM #2
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Alan:  I think Gus was making a statement ... and I applaud that.  Sometimes actions speak louder than barks.  If the hawk is smart ... he'll have taken notice.   Great photo ... and article.


Jan 15, 2010 02:46 AM #3
Judy Jennings
The Green Company - Ashland, MA
Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA

Alan - He/she is beautiful. We have several red tail hawks, a falcon and an owl living in the woods behind my house. I have yet to capture any of them on film, and still have not caught a glimpse of the owl. We also have nesting bald eagles very nearby.

Jan 15, 2010 02:56 AM #4
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Craig - yes, Gus sure showed HIM who's boss!!  Take that! (squoit) and that (squoit!!), and don't come back!

Mott - I don't think of it as destructive... it's just nature... survival of the fittest.

Gene - yes, Gus was sending a strong message.

Judy - I can't tell if it's a he or she... one day I saw him chasing a squirrel through our yard... on the ground... he moves fast on the ground, too... (the squirrel got away).


Jan 15, 2010 04:08 AM #5
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

What fun to watch a hawk in the back yard.  I thought for a minute you were going to write that the hawk had grabbed your wife!!

Jan 16, 2010 02:41 PM #6
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Barbara - well, the wife is a bit of a light-weight, but I think Mr. Cooper would be hard pressed to lift her over the fence.

Jan 17, 2010 02:07 AM #7
Ian Niquette
Square One Home Inspection - Markesan, WI

Alan, you just have to love nature in all her glory. Hawks are one of the most fascinating birds in the world to me. Thanks for the nice pic by the way. Hope your pooch and the hawk continue to co-habitat the backyard.

Jan 17, 2010 02:42 AM #8
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Ian - they have for the past two years... so no reason to think that will change, soon.

Jan 17, 2010 05:08 AM #9
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate

Gotta love nature's pest control!  We have many here also for the same reason lots of squirrels. 

Jan 17, 2010 01:12 PM #10
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Larry - I root for the hawks!

Jan 17, 2010 01:32 PM #11
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

There is a small hawk (size of a crow) that lives around my neighborhood. I made the corner into my driveway one day and noticed a large circle of downy feathers to the left ide of the drive. I then noticed Mr./Ms. Hawk looking right at me from the center of the puffy mass only a few feet away. We were both momentarily startled and then the bird flew off. I got out and checked the site of the feathery feast. All that was left of the bird were its feathers.

I do love seeing hawks and have not been able to identify this one.

Jan 18, 2010 09:43 AM #12
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Alan May

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