“Whether or not it was witnessed, it still took place. That’s why you’ve got to be there with your eyes open. There’s a world of fascinating life around us all the time. Don’t miss it” ~Mike Blair~
Welcome Stalkers, to your fourteenth edition of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors. I found this quote of Blair’s during the research for this week’s newsletter and I just think it is so true and expresses exactly what this whole endeavor is about. Blair goes out and witnesses this ‘fascinating life’ and bring it to us through quality photos, videos and writing.
Because Blair keeps his eyes open, he was able to track down and document this tricky bird. According to him, this bird is not common in Kansas and its furtive nature makes observation difficult. Cooper’s Hawks, was an expedition of Blair’s for quite awhile, and with his talents he was able to follow a pair from nest preparation through fledging.
You may see these birds in Kansas in May, during their migration. However, some pairs breed and stay through the winter. The nesting period in Kansas for these birds, according to Blair, is usually around April. This is range map from www.allaboutbirds.org.
Copper’s Hawks are a medium-sized hawk with broad, rounded wings and a very long tail. They are known to be one of the world’s most skillful fliers. They are woodland hawks that nest and wait for prey in wooded areas. This gives them the camouflage necessary to surprise their prey. However, this life is also very dangerous. Their fast flying through treetops will often give injury from a stray branch to the breast.
Copper’s Hawk is a major bird predator; pigeons, robins and doves are a popular menu item. They prefer medium-sized birds over smaller ones and will sometimes supplement with mice, squirrels and bats. Contrary to other predator birds, a Cooper’s Hawk will capture a bird with its feet and kill it by squeezing repeatedly. On occasion, they may even drown their prey.
A Cooper’s Hawk only has one brood per season. The clutch can contain between two and six eggs. The eggs are a pale blue to bluish white and have an incubation period of 30 – 36 days. There is a nestling period of 27 – 34 days before the chicks fledge.
Through Blair, we are able to see parts of this world that may otherwise be unknown to us. I think we should all be inspired to go out with our eyes open and see what we’ve been missing.
Be sure to check out the Cooper’s Hawk Gallery!