juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 14

Learning on the Wing

June 19:

The fledglings are learning how to survive on the wing in the great world beyond the nest. They seem to favor the cypress tree beside our house as a good place to spend time (to our delight!) I stepped outside with the camera and moved quietly into a good spot for a photo. Two of the hawklets were perched together, alternately preening and dozing, and took no notice of me. They were still in the same spot when I went back inside.


I think this view of the little ones is so funny. To me, they look like kids in action-figure pajamas and capes, ready to get into mischief or into bed, whichever...


June 19:

The little hawks continue to perch in the cypress tree, which provides good cover while they watch for Rufous or Roxie to fly by with a meal. This morning, two of them suddenly bee-lined for the chimney cover on our house, and soon feathers began to fly! One of the little hawks flew back to the cypress tree with his food, and promptly dropped it! Big Sister was there watching. Here are captioned photos of the sequence of events that took place, one of the most interesting interactions between siblings that we have observed.
Click on any photo to enlarge.

Dropped Meal
Little Brother drops his food and flies down to look for it.
Dropped MealBig Sister flies down and finds the meal. Dropped MealLittle Brother rushes over, seizes the food, and mantles it, while Big Sister looks on.
Dropped Meal
Little Brother seems uneasy eating on the ground, but does it anyway.
Dropped MealMeals on the ground are open to uninvited guests and distractons. Dropped Meal... and Big Sister is still watching from above, in the cypress tree.
Dropped Meal
And here she comes! Big Sister decided she wants my meal after all!
Dropped MealBut there's nothing left! Hee heee!
Big Sis finds something on the ground!
Feather Look! It's something that belonged to Dad! FeatherWhat?? You say it's illegal to pick one of these up??
Okay, I'll find something else to do.
StickHere's a stick to play with. StickI know these sticks are important, but I'm not sure what to do with it!

In the "stick" and "feather" photos above and in the next sequence of photos Little Brother seems intimidated by Big Sister. She chases him, mounts him, and hops all around displaying her wings and talons. Her actions don't seem to be malicious, but they are aggressive. Is she asserting female dominance over her sibling? That would be my guess.

Tag Tag
Tag Tag
Tag Tag Tag

In the last photo Little Brother seems to say, "Oh come on, Sis; haven't you had enough fun?"

Continue to Chapter 15: Tragedy!