After hearing from two local club members that once again a family of Cooper's Hawks had successfully fledged in their back yard, off I went on Monday morning to find them. Almost exactly a year ago, it took John and I three tries to find them, so I didn't know what to expect that morning, but as soon as I arrived I immediately heard the two young hawks loudly nattering away. They were still honing their flying skills, and were thankfully at that young age where they weren't particularly bothered by humans, so I spent the next few hours with Jan and Stella enjoying them.
This is one of the two babies that stole the limelight that morning. As I exited my car, it initially flew onto the roof of Stella's home, but then took off again on wobbly wings to safely land in a tree. One of the distinguishing features of a Cooper's Hawk is clearly seen here, check out its well-rounded tail...
...as it's checking us out!
It was paying close attention to any noises or the slightest movement detected on the ground, as it never knew if or when the parents would be making any food deliveries to them:
Something caught its eye in the garden, so it adeptly dropped down onto the ground and poked around in the greenery:
All the while, its sibling was on the other side of the yard chattering away, but they both went insane when one of the parents flew in, presumably with a rodent of some sort.
I'm not convinced that this meal below was caught by one of the fledged babies, I suspect it was thanks to one of the parents that breakfast was served and devoured with great enthusiasm!
Most of the meal was gone by now, so it did a post-meal fluff-up of its beautiful new feathers and a leg lift, but neglected to clean off its beak:
Jan, Stella, and I lost track of the young hawk momentarily as we watched a family of raccoons wander across the yard and then up a tree, it felt like we were in a Disney film rather than in the middle of the city!
Then one of the young hawks was found again, but in serious chill mode, doing its best Whip-poor-will impersonation ever by resting horizontally on the branch, it was very difficult to see:
...and after a big meal, a big nap is in order, so it began to doze off, totally oblivious to its surroundings!
It was a wonderful morning spent in a beautiful setting, with good company and hospitality, so many thanks go to both Jan, Stella, and their families for sharing their Cooper's Hawk family with me once again!
"They grow up so fast", that's one thing I do know for sure, so I'm ecstatic to have seen the babies before their territory is expanded as they gain independence from their parents and move on for another year.