Friday, July 29, 2016

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk on the Tuolumne River

I'm never going to catch up, which is fine because it's better to have lots of material than to not have any. I'm still plowing through my bird pictures from Hawai'i, but I've since been to Washington and Oregon, with a rest stop at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Lots of birds! But then I've been home for a week, and I went walking along my short stretch of the Tuolumne River. And more birds have been appearing! I've added three to my river trail list, for a total of 52 species (and I know there are many more). In any case, I was walking by a thicket of elderberry shrubs near the sewage treatment plant (as I've said before, not as bad as it sounds), something caused me to look back, and I realized I had strolled right under a juvenile Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii). It had let me wander within 15 feet without startling.
The adult Cooper's Hawks are more gray in color, with reddish eyes. The species is similar in appearance to the Sharp-shinned Hawk, but I'm calling this one a Cooper's because of the rounding of the tail feathers (the Sharp-shinned tail is more squared off).  The species can be found across the entire United States and Mexico, as well as southernmost Canada.
We stared at each other for a few moments. I didn't move closer or anything, but eventually it grew bored with me and wandered off.

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