Monday, July 30, 2012

Cooper's Hawk Sunbathing

There are four, five hawks regularly visit my backyard forest. Hawk's activity got to the peak in the mid of July when I saw two adults Cooper's Hawks perched on near-by pine trees and trained their offspring how to hunt a flock of American Crows.

Early morning on my way to my birding tour, I heard this far-carrying calls, repeated steadily. As scanning through the sky and my backyard, I saw this juvenile Cooper's was calling to his parents for breakfast. Not sure where the parent was, but I was so glad that I have not packed my camera in my gear bag and quickly snapped few shots. As I watching this hawk with admiration and enjoying his presence and company, he noticed me and looked me straight in the eye for few seconds. For some unspoken reasons, I knew he wasn't going to fly off. In stead, it seemed like he wanted to tell me "Hey, Linda, don't leave now...let me show you something ....." , honestly, this message popped out of my head just at this moment! Amazingly, this hawk started to slowly stretch his wings and tail as the sun climbed to his back....

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk sunning. Click image to enlarge

I have seen small birds doing the "sun-bathing" all the time but have never seen a large hawk sunbathing. Sunbathing is a common behavior in birds with many good reasons. In the early morning, sunning can keep them warm and regulate their body temperature. Some also believe that sunbathing can convert chemicals from their preen oil into Vitamin D, which is essential for the healthy and beautiful plumage. Sunning after the birdbath can also help drying the feathers. He stayed in this beautiful posture for a minute or so and wow, that was more than enough time for me to capture his monarchial display! This young hawk was born in my backyard forest. He is my hawk, a gull's hawk! -- Happy Birding! -- Linda


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  1. Great photo,love the detail and how you caught it with it's wings open.

  2. Thanks Trevor! Your avian images, especially those curious Rainbow Lorikeets peeking at your camera really made me jealous. Now I am balanced a little :)


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