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Cooper’s Hawks


Economy got you down?  Looking for ways to save your hard earned do-re-mi?  Thinking of cutting back or cutting off birdseed altogether?  Let them fend for themselves, right?

But wait! Try the new Sharpienator.  One sharpie used only once or twice a day will solve that bird food drain on your scarce resources.  And it is Absolutely Free! You can’t buy the Sharpienator in any store.  But wait.  There’s more!

So, you get the idea.  When the last snows started to melt the action at my feeders returned quickly to null and void.  I am used to having a coops cruise the place on a regular basis.  This year it’s a handsome and very stealthy adult male.  [click to continue...]

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 ...

[click to continue...]


It has been a bonanza year for raptor nests on the Vineyard. I have been keeping an eye on a Cooper’s Hawk nest not too far from the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven and also one up in Chilmark.  There are three chicks in each of these,  growing up fast.  There are four active Cooper’s Hawk nests that I am aware of this year on Martha’s Vineyard.   Some young have already fledged and some are still mostly fuzzy white.

There may be, and probably are,  more breeding Cooper’s Hawks.  Maybe some of the Vineyard’s Breeding Bird Atlasers will get back to me on this.  One friend of mine insists there is a Sharp-shinned nest on his property, but we differ as to the raptor ID.  It almost goes without saying that Ospreys and Red-taileds abound.  Harriers are another matter.  They are here, for sure, and nesting, but it can be hard to pin down just how many nests there are.  This year at least, there is a dedicated and persistent  group of observers doing just that at locations along the South Shore of the Vineyard. [click to continue...]