It’s What’s for Dinner

**This series of photos shows a predator eating prey.**

Towards the end of a day, I walked into my front garden, and glancing to my neighbor’s lawn, saw this Cooper’s Hawk, Accipiter cooperii, enjoying its Sunday dinner.

On the menu that evening was White-winged Dove, a favorite meal for the neighborhood hawks. I’ll admit to always feeling a bit sorry for those who are caught, but this scene demonstrates at least one part of a healthy ecosystem: that there are predators to hunt plentiful prey–and that is a good thing. There are more than enough fat, well-fed White-winged Doves in our area.

I imagine that this hawk is an adult from the mated pair of Cooper’s nesting behind my SIL’s house. As the trees leafed out, watching the hawks at their nesting site became nearly impossible, but they’re still around and hunting. Obviously.

The hawk ate for about an hour, eventually flying off with the last part of the meal, presumably as a snack for later–or to feed its babies. I’ll have a better idea of the Cooper’s parents’ success if I see a juvenile hunting in late summer and autumn.

14 thoughts on “It’s What’s for Dinner

  1. Nature ain’t always pretty but it is natural. I once watched a Cooper’s hawk devour a mourning dove atop the hood of my car. We stopped feeding the birds because of bear visitors but that means the predators have to find another buffet.

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  2. They are pretty fantastic creatures! We watched an episode on raptors as part of a Netflix series called Animal. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t seen it. Good stuff indeed! You are lucky to be able to observe them in person, Tina!

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    • Lol–I wish I always had my camera ready! All week there has been a pair of Common Yellowthroats in my front garden and between my incompetence and their speed–no photos! This hawk was totally into its meal and paid no attention to me or to neighbors walking by. Who knew dove tasted so good?

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  3. Better your Cooper’s hawk than my new neighbor’s cat, who’s been lurking beneath my feeders until it finally snagged its very own white-winged dove. (There have been discussion about that!) This is such a wonderful series of photos; there have been times, like during the freeze, that I actually rooted for my Coopers’ hawks to get lucky. Hunting is hard work, and when there’s a family to provide for, it gets even more important.

    If I were a hawk, I’d go for dove, too. Stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeno, and then bacon wrapped – there’s a lot to like. Of course, the hawk doesn’t need to mess with all that!

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    • I think the hawk enjoys its meal without all the added stuff! I don’t mind the hawks/owls getting birds. Yes, I rather see rodents, but birds are fair game.

      Speaking of owls–we have owlets! I think one might have fledged overnight. The parents are hard to find in my now bushy oak tree (thanks to last year’s freeze). That’s good for the birds, bad for the bird watcher. I’ve heard their trills today. I’ve seen other fuzzy faces at the nest box hole and I think one is a little smaller than the other. So maybe there are three? I may never know unless they hang out in a different tree AND I can see them. Anyhow, a post with cute owlet(s) is in the near future. Very happy for this owl couple!

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