Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cooper's Hawk vs Mourning Dove

A ghostly bird image marks our patio window.

Windows remove millions of birds from this world every year. It's a modern danger birds don't see or understand until the last moment...often too late.

This crash resulted from of a high speed chase by a Cooper's Hawk.

Moments earlier a flock of Mourning Dove was cautiously collecting seeds among the rocks. The hawk's arrival was low and fast. Suddenly, they exploded in all directions. The hawk simply targeted the nearest and slowest.  This unfolded right in front of me...only the window glass separated us.

The Cooper's Hawk failed to capture a Mourning Dove in the air...the window nearly did her in.

She lay injured on the patio bricks delirious and drooping, not knowing what just happened. The hawk returned to pick her up, but saw me through the glass, fluttered in the air for a moment and flew away.

In this case, my presence was tipping the balance of nature in the dove's favor. Still, I chose not to remove myself from this event.

The hawk landed on a railing to assess the chances of reclaiming his prize.

If this is a male Cooper's Hawk he was likely only hunting for himself. But someday he must provide food for a mate while she sits on eggs for a month, and later to feed his family. This could be three months of continuous hunting for him. Missing a meal then could be serious.

He decided on his own to leave.

The Mourning Dove staggered to temporary cover under a chair. We both knew she was badly hurt. She had a neck wound and a damaged wing.

She remained in hiding throughout the next day. I put out food and water for her, but I don't know if she helped herself to it.

Nature was running its course.

A little food and water is all I'll do to further affect an outcome that happens thousands of times each day.


(Click any picture to enlarge.)

Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
Sibley's Guide to Birds