juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 24

Learning to Hunt

July 21, 2015

The little hawks are beginning to hunt on their own. They are still figuring out what is food and what is not food. They are also learning -- the hard way -- what food is catchable and what food lies just beyond their capabilities to capture. We have watched them pursue squirrels numerous times with no luck. Still, it is likely that some of their efforts are successful at this point.

Today I watched as one of the young hawks zeroed in on a green heron. I imagine the encounter went something like this:

Green Heron
"Ohhh there's a little bird.
Or are there two birds?"
Green Heron
"Yikes! That thing has a long sharp bill,
and it's bigger than it looks!"

The hawklet gave it a try anyhow, interrupting the heron's fishing efforts. With an indignant squawk, the heron shrugged his attacker off with a flutter of wings. The heron did not even fly, until a few minutes later when the hawk returned for a second attempt. At that point, the heron flew further down the canal in search of a more peaceful fishing spot.

July 22, 2015

There are little hawks all over the neighborhood now. They still seem to favor the cypress trees as a home base, but now they are very leery of the female human pointing a black box at them.

Today, Susi and I walked about in the yard and were surprised to see a hawklet right above us in the cypress tree. The hawk did not fly, nor did he move from limb to limb as usual. He remained still, watching Susi as she eyed him carefully. We See You
We See You Can the little hawk be considering Susi as his next meal? If one is hungry enough, he might try anything, but... all that cat hair!!

As I moved around to photograph the hawk from another angle, I suddenly realized why he had chosen not to fly. He was eating a meal! After remaining motionless for a few moments, he tucked into his meal with relish. I have yet to see a little hawk abandon a meal, or even risk losing it by moving to a safer place.

We See You We See You We See You

Continue to Chapter 25: Aloha Season 2015