ARTISTS AND BIRDS
What's on your entertainment
list for tonight? Watching a
sunset... or watching a Feathered Tiger?
Just as the sun was thinking
about setting, and we were driving on
Bloomington Drive, my honey saw a flash of white in the air coming
toward our vehicle. It had to be a large raptor.... making a catch in
mid air! We made a U-turn and slowly drove back to the
grassy parkway on the east side of the road and stopped. There on the
ground was the raptor
with his catch. We were within 20 feet of the
scene, and what a scene it was. It was a Cooper's Hawk.... with a dove
in his talons. The hawk was already plucking the feathers from its prey
in preparation of consuming it.
This was a great experience to be
so close to a Cooper's Hawk while
feeding. When the majority of the bird's feathers were plucked, it was
time for the meal. With each morsel of food he took, the raptor
would raise its head and scan the surrounding area for any sign of
danger. Cars racing by did not disturb the feeding (must have been used
to Bloomington Drive), but it stayed extremely wary of any danger. We
sat and watched for about 15 minutes. The beautiful markings on the
back, breast, legs, and the tail made it a striking scene of nature.
The prey seemed almost as large as the Hawk (Cooper's 14-20 inches...
Dove 12 inches). Then unfortunately, some noisy young people came
down the street, and the Cooper's Hawk took the remainder of its prey
and flew across the street, into a tree.
I think of Cooper's Hawks as
Feathered Tigers. Their hunting techniques
are similar.... ambush and then a speedy attack. These fierce hunters
of the sky, are constantly on the alert for inattentive or ill prey,
which must be harvested each day, if the Cooper's Hawk is to survive.
This winter, at your bird feeders, understand that the hunters are a
necessity and part of nature's way of keeping bird populations healthy
and in check.
The Cooper's Hawk was drawn by
Artist Brenda Rusnell. Thank you Brenda
for this great picture. If you have questions or stories about the
Cooper's Hawk, call Marilyn Davis - 435 673-0996.
"Raptors of the Skies" will be
presented by Cordell Peterson for Red
Cliffs Audubon, on Wednesday, November 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Tonaquint
Nature Center, 1851 South Dixie Drive in St. George. Public is invited.
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