juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 19

Where Did They Go?

July 23:

All week we have watched for a young hawk to fly into the cypress tree. We have listened for the plaintive begging of hungry youngsters. But all is still and quiet. The little hawks are gone.

In years past, the fledglings have disbursed around the first of august, and it is earlier this year. Indeed the whole season has been earlier by about ten days. And so it is time... the flight feathers of the young birds are fully grown and hard-penned. In fact, these feathers are slightly longer than those of a mature adult, to give them an "edge."

In my mind's eye, I imagine the youngsters sitting together and "discussing" the situation. "The pickings are slim near the cypress and nest trees; Mom and Dad go somewhere far off to hunt now; we could hunt better alone than in pairs; we need to stop this whining, because it frightens off the prey. We can do it! Let's go!"


And... just like that... the fledglings become juveniles. They are now "passage hawks" and move from one place to another in search of a good hunting ground. Perhaps one day instinct will impel them to return to their natal territory of Valley Ranch.

The cypress tree is weighted down this year with fruit. With the departure of the Cooper's hawks, other small birds and squirrels have begun to re-populate the tree and watch for the ripening of the fruit. Life returns to normal.

Cypress Fruit

Farewell, young Cooper's hawks! Farewell, Rufous and Roxie! We hope to see you again next year!