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

Chapter 17

The Stowaway

June 12: A Mystery

Last night, just before it started to get dark, Jay and I took one more look at the hawk nest. As we approached the nest, I could hear the familiar eee-ewww call of a baby hawk pleading for food. Sure enough, two of the little hawks had flutter-jumped higher in the nest, no doubt to get themselves on the same level with Henrietta, who remained placidly observing them. I took the following photo, which has become a topic of debate and a downright mystery.

Click for
Zoom 2--->

Click for
Zoom 3--->

Hold Tight
<---Click for
Zoom 1

If you click on the zoom shots above, you will see (1) what appears to be a pair of hawks in the upper right-hand part of the photo, (2) the second little hawk clinging to a branch (upper center of the photo), and (3) the top part of the nest, visible at the bottom of the photo.

Examination of this photo raises some questions:

(1) In Zoom 1, are there indeed two hawks? Could this be a young hawk with an adult partially hidden on a limb behind it?

(2) No question in Zoom 2. One young fledgling is clinging tenuously to a small branch.

(3) In Zoom 3 -- the nest -- how many chicks remain in the nest?

Raptor Central forum members engaged in a discussion about these issues last night, and I tend to agree with Dixnora, who thinks Zoom 1 shows a little hawk and an adult behind it; and two chicks remain in the nest. Pop6 pointed out that s/he has stated all along there are four young hawks in the brood.

On closer examination of an uncropped version of this photo, we found that Henrietta was perched in the tree in her usual place, so if Zoom 1 shows an adult hawk, it is not Henrietta! Hmmm.

Raptor Central forum members convinced me that there are four young hawks, not three! The fourth one must be a stowaway, since s/he has remained hidden so far. We will call him Stow.

Continue to Chapter 18: Venturing Out