Friday, October 23, 2009

Gary Cooper vs. Mickey Mouse

Okay, not really Gary Cooper or Mickey Mouse. It's Cooper Hawk vs. Field Mouse. I just couldn't think of anything creative for a title.

Lee told me, as he was grabbing a camera, that there was a hawk wandering around by the pool. I thought he must be loosing his mind. Hawks in our part of the world have no interest in water dwelling creatures.

Besides, we have no water dwelling creatures in our pool. Occasionally, we'll find an errant frog, but that's about it. I was sure Lee was mistaken and that it must be a heron of some sort.

It was most definitely a hawk.
But what kind? I didn't figure that out until a couple days later.
Be sure to click on the picture above to get the full effect of his talons.

("Do they have sharp talons?"--quick, name that movie quote!)

I digress.

The talons look sharp enough to make short work of anything small and fuzzy.

Shoot! He sees us. He's going to fly off.
Boy, did he fly off---right at the kitchen window where we were standing as still as statues!
We scattered, afraid he was going to slam into the window. He'd already done it once during the week in hot pursuit of a pesky English House Sparrow.

Here's where you'll really have to 'click to enlarge'. He is on the ground near the fence post in the middle of the picture. We couldn't imagine what he was after. Any small birds in the area had flown the coop long before we started taking pictures.

One last picture. You can't see what he has, but we could. A mouse!
A moment later, he took to the air and found a nice private tree to enjoy his lunch.

Was all that walking around the pool, a ruse to get to the mouse? When we thought he was looking at us, he must have seen/heard the mouse in the flowers.

Either way, it's obvious it doesn't take much to entertain us. :)

The down side to this encounter----our local song birds have decided to eat elsewhere. The House Sparrows are still around. I wish Gary Cooper would thin them out. He's invited to breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'll light candles and have cloth napkins if that's what it takes.


  1. I'm pretty sure he is one of the raptors, either a Cooper's Hawk, or Sharp Shinned Hawk. Try Googling those names and click on Images near the top left of your screen and see if it looks like any of those. Those 2 kinds of Hawks are almost identical so it might be tricky. MIght try Googling something like: is it a Cooper's or a sharp shinned. And, see what comes up. Let us know what you decide.

  2. Holy cow! Talons indeed!

    Funny title btw!

  3. Great pictures of the hawk! Those talons are huge!

  4. great pictures! It is hard to capture those kind of shots, hawks are so elusive.

  5. Inventive title. ;-) And great pictures. It's so rare to get pictures of a hawk sunning by a pool I'm thinking!

  6. Great pics, CeeCee! Hawks are so awesome - beautiful creatures and fabulous hunters. Unfortunately, we have chicken hawks around here and they like hunting our chickens :-( But we've been fortunate to only lose one to them in the past couple of years. Even so, I am always in awe of their beauty and skills.

  7. Barbee, it took me a couple days, but tail shape and a couple other details led me to the conclusion that he is a Cooper.

    Warren and Nancy, I never thought about calling them talons before Napoleon Dynamite. I always called them claws--incorrectly, so.

    Leslie and Rural Writer, thanks. You're right about them being elusive. This hawk has been around for weeks and whenever he lights in a tree nearby, I'm out with the camera. He flies away every single time.

    Penny, what size are your chickens? We have red tailed hawks here too, but they never bother my hens. I have the large breed chickens and I'm thinking they are too big for the RT hawks to mess with. They weigh as much/more as the hawks.

  8. CeeCee, my hens range in size, but the one that the hawk got was bigger than the hawk. He ate her where he killed her in the woods and I scared him off when I came out. There was no meat left on her neck or breast by that time. The hawks around here are relentless, and they have no fear. They have come after my chickens when Bernie and I were only 10 feet away from them. We've been able to successfully chase them off each time but once. I have hens with missing feathers, but other than the one, we've been lucky enough to get to them before they tote one off or kill it on the spot. They truly are awesome birds though - just wish they didn't hav a taste for chicken!