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Monday, 6 June 2016

Cooper Hawk Nest Near Our Place

We often walk over to the ravine that is near our condo. It is not a far walk, but once you get into the ravine entrance, you could conceivably walk for miles, east towards McCowan, then towards Markham Rd., into the Highland Creek area. We often go as far as McCowan, but have walked for 4 hours or so, and done the longer route.

Last time we were there, John noticed a huge stick nest up in a tree. It was quite visible from certain spots. We saw the partially silhouetted head of a hawk in it, and I thought it to be a Red Tailed Hawk.

Today, on a day off from work, after renewing our library cards, we decided to head over and see how the hawk was doing.

There was a city worker mowing the meadow area just north of where the nest is, and as he left, passing us as we stepped aside and out of his way, the one hawk took off from the nest and was circling. It didn't seem to like all the noise, and it flew back and forth finally settling in a tree near the nest. I got a couple photos of it, enough to see that it was not a Red Tail Hawk, it was a Cooper's Hawk. We decided to walk on and leave it alone, let it settle down and go back to its business.

Later on, we stopped to see how it was doing, on our way out. I could see a bird seemingly feeding another bird, or pulling from something below in the nest then lifting its head. The bird popped up its head. It has yellow eyes and it seems larger than the one that flew from the nest earlier. Not sure if it is a female being brought food by the smaller male, or a single juvi hawk. Hard to know 100%, could be the female sitting on eggs still, or a juvenile pretty close to fledging. It was large. Hard to see from the distance the photos were taken from too, and the amount of the bird that I was able to discern in the photo. I purposely over exposed the photo when I tool it so I could see as much detail as possible later on. Looking in person it is too far and in total silhouette.

We also were treated to a pair of crows chasing a red tailed hawk through the sky.

The ravine is a pretty place to walk. Generally, someone will stop and talk to us for a few moments, and it is quite enjoyable. Many are long time area residents and we learn quite a bit from them. We saw a lot of swallow tails, mostly the yellow Eastern ones, but we did see a black swallowtail butterfly closer to our condo, on the walk back.

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