Stoney Creek (Wintergreen) 6/25/14

All photos are Marshall Faintich

We had light rain this morning, followed by some breaks in the clouds before this afternoon's forecasted heavy rain. I decided to go for a hike close to home, and opted to leave my camera at home as there have been only a few birds around here lately. As I got to near the end of our street, I heard two birds screaming loudly from the small pine forest at the end of the street. I looked up into the trees to try to figure out what all the noise was about, and I saw two juvenile hawks sitting on branches near a large nest. There may have been movement in the nest as well. One of them saw me, and quickly flew away through the dense conifers. I could see the streaked breast of a juvenile hawk, and bold black and white tail bands. My first thought was Broad-winged Hawk, but I wasn't sure.

I hiked back to my house to get my camera. When I returned, I could see a hawk perched on a branch near the nest. The hawk continued to call for its mama. I was looking into the sun, there were lots of branches in the way, and the hawk was in shadows making camera exposures a challenge. But I was able to get off a few shots. In the following few photos, the tail feathers clearly indicate a Cooper's Hawk, but I couldn't tell from the camera display screen.


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

I walked around to the other side of the trees to try for a better view, but as I walked around, I was looking directly up into the sun, and couldn't find the hawk. I walked back and forth a few times, and finally located it behind some branches. Now I had the sun somewhat behind me, but getting a clear shot was a challenge, and I couldn't see its tail feathers. The reddish upper breast coloring reinforced my thinking Broad-winged Hawk.


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

At this point, I decided to continue my hike, check the skies for an adult hawk for identification, and then return to the nest on my way back. I only saw a few other birds.


Canada Geese taking a bath

When I got back to the hawk's nest, there was a hawk sitting on the edge of the nest and looking into it. Was it mama? I couldn't tell then that it was a juvenile, and most likely the same hawk I had seen earlier perched on a nearby branch.


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

I decided to stay there for a while to see if mama or papa showed up. A few minutes later, I got lucky and saw another juvenile perched on a different branch. I still was looking into the sun, but I had a clear view and now I knew that they were juvenile Cooper's Hawks.


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk


Juvenile Cooper's Hawks


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk



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