juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 3

The Big Surprise!

April 12, 2014

It is getting very close to egg-laying time. The nest looks nicely refurbished, and I have seen a hawk there several times.

Early this morning, I was gathering clothes for the laundry when I heard Jay downstairs, calling, "The hawks are in the tree! They're making all kinds of noise and they're mating!" I dropped the laundry and headed straight for my camera in the loft.

The hawks had finished mating and were still close together in the cypress tree. I got a couple of photos and then this video.

While I was filming the video, I noticed something amazing! The female hawk had the streaked breast and yellow eyes of a young hawk! It was not Henrietta!! I was dumbfounded! To make sure, I followed the young hawk with binoculars as she moved about in the tree, much more active than Henrietta ever was. She turned around, and I got a good look at her back, still marked with a juvenile's white patches.

New Mate

New Mate

It will do no good to speculate what happened to Henrietta. She was six years old, and that's pretty old for a Cooper's hawk. I do not believe she returned this year at all, and the earlier photo was the only sighting of the hawk pair together. I have looked at it closely and, since it is a back view, it's impossible to see who it is. I am glad that Rufous has found a new mate, and I hope they will have success with a family. After all, procreation is the ultimate goal for a raptor of any species.

The new female flew, and Rufous remained in the tree for awhile. Here is a short video I took of him. He obliged me by "lightening the load" just before he flew.

Continue to Chapter 4: Tribute to Henrietta