We have just returned from a wonderful road trip, driving back East to spend the holidays with family and friends in South and North Carolina and Georgia. During the trip, we talked about Rufous, the Cooper's hawk who has chosen our yard as his breeding territory for the past eight years. We have begun thinking of him as "Old Rufous" since he is most likely ten or eleven years old -- very old for a Cooper's hawk in the wild.
It will soon be time for Rufous to return, and also Roxie, his mate of the past three years. During the winter, we have seen and heard a Cooper's hawk from time to time, and we believe it is Roxie. We walked out into the yard and stopped under nest tree, just for a look, and could NOT believe our eyes!
The nest is gone!! During the ten days we were gone, the nest simply disappeared! There is no sign of it, not even a wisp of a stick or twig where it used to be. We have no clue what happened, but we speculate that a storm with high winds probably took it down. Now the big question is: Where will the hawks rebuild their nest?
January 16 - 19:
From time to time we hear one of the hawks call. One of them is in the trees near our house.
On the afternoon of the 19th, Jay and I went for a hike at Coppell Nature Center. On the way home, I drove along the canal on Casa Drive. Suddenly, I had to stop dead-still in the middle of the road. There was Roxie, bathing herself in a large puddle. I watched her for awhile until she flew up into a nearby tree.
Jay and I watched a Cooper's hawk perched in one of three cypress trees near our house. The hawk looked big and had a very orange/red chest and dark cap with a square head. We could not tell whether it was Rufous or Roxie, but it certainly was a Cooper's hawk.
We saw a hawk fly out of the cypress tree closest to old nest tree traveling south over the canal. This would be the last time we saw any hawk activity for awhile, and we began to wonder just where they were??
Continue to Chapter 2: Rufous Returns
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