Coming of age on the Vineyard, hawks in flight, almost

by Lanny McDowell on July 7, 2009


The young Cooper’s Hawks at the nest near Abel’s Hill in Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard are up and out and lounging in adjacent trees.  The last time I was there, on July fifth, the female allowed herself to be seen, keeping a quiet eye on things, then audibly admonishing her brood, or maybe me, from deeper back in the oak forest.  I had never seen her before.  I have never seen the male; and so I have never been aware of more than one adult.  Of course, I could be mistaken, if the two adults are close in size.

In the dappled light of the woods it is pretty hard to make out any of these raptors when they are still, especially if you don’t have advanced knowledge of where to look.  But, boy, are they nice to watch when you do find them.

I do not really expect to find them near the nest,  should I go back.  There is too much to see and do … and to eat.

1st sighting of the adult female after she cruised out of the woods:

1st sighting of the adult female after she cruised out of the woods, alsmost over my head ...


so easy to miss back in the woods

so easy to miss back in the woods

for a hawk with relatively delicate features, this female Cooper's implies nothing delicate


One thing you notice right away, looking at the young hawks, is that they are armed with adult weaponry:


A gray squirrel making his rounds tentatively approached one of the young Coops, not the best idea with one of the parents nearby.  When it got close enough, the youngster flared its wings and the encounter ended with the squirrel parting company.


so young and so serious

so young and so serious

This Madonna, short of there being a Great Horned Owl in the neighborhood, which I doubt, will have fledged four new hawks into the growing company of Cooper’s Hawks established on Martha’s Vineyard.

the Madonna

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Birds are cool!  Lanny

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Scott 07.07.09 at 8:56 am


You give nature photographers a good name! Very nice pics of the Coops and young.


Lanny McDowell 07.07.09 at 9:39 am

There is something smushy going on with me emotionally, the more photos I take of birds, possibly because through the photos I am getting so close to the birds. I am loving the birds. I think it started with going down to New Jersey last year to work with shorebirds. The more I hung out with them and got close to them, the more I felt emotion for them. Also, if you hold a bird in your hand, that might tip the scales for becoming attached individually and generically. It’s curious.

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