May/June 2018 • Vol. XL No. 3 Nature's (Human) Nature |

Hawk Watching

Last year I saw a hawk catch a bird in my garden, and now I know how many ways predation can go wrong. It was early spring, and the dry stalks rattling beside her in the wind put the Cooper's hawk on edge. To worsen her earthbound perch, a chain-link fence blocked her escape on one side, a saskatoon bush hemmed her on the other, and electrical wires congested the sky. She had blazed down a utility easement and surprised the starling as it pecked at shriveled berries fallen from the bush. The prostrate prey lay upside down beneath one clenched set of talons, writhing and very much alive. The hawk stretched and craned to see if she was safe. Her eyes shone red. My bedroom window hid me from her view. I say her because females are larger than the males. Cooper's hawks display one of the largest size differences of any bird of prey. So large, even experts mistake the male Coopers for the female sharp-shinned hawk. Had she laid a clutch of eggs she would have been on the nest, the ma

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Windfall

By Monica Sok

Last year I saw a hawk catch a bird in my garden, and now I know how many ways predation can go wrong. It was early spring, and the dry […]

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