Kid Cooper’s Hawks

This newly fledged female Cooper’s Hawk is mantling to show her sibling it is time to back off. The two of them have been chasing each other through the trees and play time is over. Raptors usually mantle over prey that they want to hide from others. It makes them look bigger, more threatening, and covers up their meal. So it is a bit unusual to see this behaviour from below. I’m amazed at the feather tracts on the back of the head and neck. What a moment.

Is it some kind of woodland peacock or a Cooper’s Hawk? She kept it up for a solid minute, hopping gradually down the branch.

Here she is transformed into a different creature. She is still keeping an eye on her sister though. There are 4 fledglings, 3 females and a male. The females are busy chasing each other and constantly begging. The male is further along – out on his own, hunting, flying with purpose as he patrols a different patch of the arboretum. I think the males develop more quickly because they are smaller. It is probably advantageous to leave the nest before your three gigantic, voracious and, fierce sisters get their act together.

Here is the male out on patrol. Gaze fixed firmly on a distant hedgerow full of songbirds.

One of the females swoops overhead screaming all the way.

Another sister gets in a little quiet flight practice near a reservoir. Photographing Coops is challenging. They are so quick and unpredictable and once they get a little sense they become nearly invisible. I never once saw the parents who keep a very low profile. I hope the kids stick around awhile.

7 responses

  1. jmj


    August 1, 2011 at 5:27 am

  2. Dramatic and amazing photos!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:31 am

  3. My, hawks, or any birds of prey for that matter, never cease to amaze me. It is even more amazing how well you captured them. Love your work!

    August 4, 2011 at 11:32 am

  4. Chris

    What lens do you use to get that close or are you really that close?

    August 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    • I’m actually about 15 feet away. I was shooting these at about 400 mm.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm

  5. John Wall

    Cool! I don’t think I’ve ever seen mantling before.

    August 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

  6. Alice

    These pics are awesome! Great job! Thanks for sharing.

    October 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm

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