juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous and Henrietta Hawk

Chapter 4

Rufous Preening

March 23: Rufous Preening

This morning I worked at home, and watched Rufous as he flew back and forth from the cypress tree to his nest tree. About noon, as I was ready to leave the house, I glanced out and saw Rufous in the cypress tree. I finally got some good shots of him although there were some cypress branches preventing a full view. He was preening, and I watched as he leaned all the way over his back to the base of his tail, where his uropygial (preen) gland is located. Taking oil from the gland with his beak and head feathers, Rufous applied the oil to feathers all over his body, giving himself a good water-proofing.

Closeup of Rufous Preening

Since Rufous was in no hurry, I took lots of photos. He seemed to be enjoying himself, and the whole procedure seemed effortless - he was even perched on one foot.

Click to enlarge.

Continue to Chapter 5: The Nest Nears Completion