I already did several posts on Cooper’s hawks (Accipiter cooperi) including “Hungry Cooper’s Hawk“, “Keeping Warm” and “Cooper’s Hawk“, so will not repeat myself. Instead I want to share my experience with a juvenile Cooper’s hawk.
Juvenile Cooper’s hawks are dark brown on the back with the nape and face a rusty shade of brown and a whitish superciliary (eyebrow area) band. The buffy breast is streaked with brown while the long, rounded tail is striped. The juvenile eye is pale yellow.
While sitting along Hat Creek (Shasta County CA) watching some black-crowned night herons (Black-crowned Night Herons Return) a young Cooper’s hawk flew onto a branch about ten feet off the ground and perhaps fifteen feet away from where I was sitting. I carefully turned, slowly lifted my camera and began taking photographs of my visitor. My caution was unnecessary. I eventually decided to stand and get closer, if possible. At least I might get a picture of the hawk flying off. I moved a step closer, took more pictures, moved a bit closer, took more pictures and was eventually standing directly under the immature hawk. If my arms had been a foot or so longer I could have touched the hawk, who kept watching me yet never moved. After about fifteen minutes I decided to move on. Still the young hawk sat watching me as I walked away at a normal pace. Later I returned to the tree where the hawk sat and it was gone.
Both pictures are of the same bird in the same position. The backgrounds look different because I moved to a different angle .
I forgot about the black-crowned night herons while taking advantage of this close-up Cooper’s hawk encounter.