juvenile coopers hawk in the grass The Saga
Rufous Hawk

Chapter 3

Meet R2D2

March 18:

Today we got our first good look at the male hawk. He is definitely a different hawk from our Rufous. He is probably a young hawk, perhaps two or three years old, based on the gray feathers at his cheeks and the bright red color of his eyes. His undertail coverts are fluffy and white, a sign he is ready for the breeding season. We began calling him Rufous II, then R2. But that quickly settled on R2D2, for no good reason that I can explain.

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There is nothing to be gained by speculating about what happened to Rufous. He lived a full and productive life, for certain. He must have been two or three years old when he first claimed his territory in Valley Ranch in 2009. In March of 2017, when we last saw him, he was 11 or 12 years old, at the terminus of expected life for a Cooper's hawk in the wild. The signs of aging had become apparent, so we are not surprised that he is gone. But we will miss him and always remember him fondly.

Continue to Chapter 4: The Nest Shapes Up