In early January, the frigid, wintry weather began to recede. While temperatures hovered around 0° F (-18° C), seeing the sun for the first time in days was much welcomed. The small colony of sparrows and finches roosting in our juniper tree would begin to emerge upon feeling the warmth of the rising sun. A Cooper’s hawk, probably on an early morning hunt for small birds and field mice, decided to stop and warm its feathers on the shepherd’s crook that holds the bird feeder.
A gorgeous bird by any definition. The sparrows and finches stayed quiet in the juniper as the Cooper’s hawk warmed itself for about 15 minutes before flying off.
Both Cooper’s hawks and red-tail hawks have adapted well to the urban/suburban interface. Bird feeders and trash bins have attracted the kind of prey these hawks love to hunt. Occasionally, rough-legged hawks will hunt closer to populated areas, though preferring to hunt in open, rural areas.
Many thanks to Diana Miller of the Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo with the identification. The center provides rehabilitation of injured raptors.