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

Chapter 3

Site of the New Nest

February 23: Taking a Look at the Hawk Pair

We know that Rufous and Henrietta are at least six years old, and probably seven or older. This is the fifth year we have observed them, and Coopers hawks are normally two years old when they first mate. We have no reason to believe there has been a pair change, although if something happened to one, then the other would seek a new mate. Like most raptors, there is reverse sexual size dimorphism between the two. "What the heck is that?" you may say. Simply put, Henrietta is larger than Rufous. There are few other ways to tell them apart, although we believe Henrietta's back is lighter and browner than Rufous' steely grey back.

Henrietta 2013
Rufous 2013

Site of the New Nest!

This morning Henrietta was perched in the cypress tree watching Rufous as he flitted about, moving from limb to limb. Watching him, I knew that he was looking for just the right stick. He snapped one out of the tree, and I held my breath as I watched him swoop out and up, into the live oak tree nearest our house. I could not contain my excitement!

Rufous continued to select sticks from the cypress tree and sometimes from the ground below the tree. Each time he flew up to the same spot, high in the live oak. Thank goodness they are building well out of harmís way in a tree that is close by. In fact, it is the same tree where they built their first nest and raised the families of 2009 and 2010. The nest is not in the same spot, but close. Henrietta continued to watch Rufous as he industriously flew back and forth with nest building material. Finally, she reached out and, with a single snap of her beak, captured a fairly large stick and flew with it up to the new nest site.

Continue to Chapter 4: A Work in Progress