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Old 12-30-2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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Default Hawk in pigeon killing shocker!

A raptor of some sort took a pigeon out of the air about 5 meters in front of our doorstep.

And I saw it...

I must be a bit slow or something. I saw the thing happen, but my brain had a hard time processing the events. They were very close together on the time axis.


It went like this : bird comes flying in low, sort of through the houses maybe, low certainly, and makes a sharp turn.

It was the sharpness of the turn that got my attention.

My brain said, hello, that was a bit tricky looking, continue monitoring.

So, obediently my eyes kept tracking, while I was wondering what sort of bird can do maneuvers like that.

But then my brain had another issue to deal with. Namely, a large floppy thing that I was not really paying attention to previously was now seemingly hanging out of the snappy flier bird.

General confusion reigned at this point. The snappiness of the bird's flight was consigned to #2 slot in my struggling brain's interwebs. Where... why has that bird suddenly got a massive dangly thing hanging out of it, and... how did it suddenly get so big? And it looks all weird and out of normal bird proportion now.

The hawk landed on the roof of the house across the road as the penny dropped.

Oooooooh. Coooool. Coincidentally this old WWII vet guy who lives up the road was walking home at the same time. We both saw it, and both of our faces lit up with pleasure as we realised what was happening. He gave it an appreciative waggle of his cane, and looked at me. I had no choice but to walk over and gawp at the very impressive creature standing on the roof, who was now regarding me and my 16 month year old I was carrying around in a pretty nonchalant manner.

Dang my brain thought. That bird thing is the man. I'm glad I'm not some dopey pigeon. Heh.

I then walked back to the house wondering when the pigeon stopped living, since it was a nippy day, and the little-un had been out for a bit now.

As I walked up our steps, I saw a poof of feathers at the base of the steps, next to the alley along side the house.

I realised that the pigeon must have been killed, or at least totally knocked out *the instant* the hawk hit it. It was absolutely limp the moment afterwards, and remained limp on the roof of the house.

Astonishing work, all in all, Senor Raptor. I've never seen that happening in front of me before.
Badass.
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:28 PM   #2
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Nicely told, Philip! A few years ago I was out on my deck doing I remember not when a Cooper's hawk came swooping down and grabbed a mourning dove and took it about 40 feet away. It looked at me as if I was a threat to its newly obtained meal and wrapped its wings around its kill in a protective way, all the while starring attentively at me. After a time, it realized I wasn't interested in its catch and began to tear pieces of flesh from the dove. It was a memorable event, not least of all because of the "mourning" the dove's mate seemed to verbalize for the rest of the day.

There's an adrenal experience watching a kill first hand...
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Old 12-30-2010, 10:41 PM   #3
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Now that I was thinking about it, that poof of feathers on the ground kept cropping up.
There was a selection of them, downey ones, primaries, in betweeney ones.

I've seen this before. In exactly the same spot, just to the right of our steps, 4 meters out of the alley as the sidewalk starts.

I've seen this a number of times. I never knew exactly what to make of it, but I had some fairly strong suspicions.

I wonder... does this hawk make a habit of this particular spot? Do I have an alleyway of death attached to my house? Because that was not on the property listing when I bought it.

And it bloody well will be when I try to sell it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 11:34 PM   #4
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I guess you were in the right place at the right time, I've seen the Pigeon feather after-math too but even seeing the raptor is a rare sight. I've been told that a hawk that hunts Pigeons can run into trees or other obstacles since the Pigeons are such good fliers. Ornithologists say that many Hawks show skull damage with some able to recover after some crashes.
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:57 AM   #5
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Right.

I was very focused on his head, face, beak, talons and so on, so I didn't look terribly closely at his tail, but I am pretty sure its a Red Tailed hawk.

File:Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis Full Body 1880px.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

He looked quite like this lad, but my guy had a darker, almost black beak, and slightly more rosey bib under his chin.

I;m fairly sure that this was it though. Common enough hawk allegedly. Also is known to take birds out of the air.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:53 AM   #6
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Phillip,
Excellent story--thank you for sharing! I usually see the aftermath as well. I have a Cooper's Hawk that hunts on the island here. I see him every few days, hunting the pigeons and sparrows.

What a very cool experience you had! Thank you for sharing with us.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:15 PM   #7
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I know the hawks need to eat the birds and that they usually only have about 10-20% chance of catching them, but I still feel sorry for the birds.

The area where I feed the birds gets visited by a nice Cooper's Hawk. We get to admire it as it sits on the deck rail after the birds have flown away. Luckily, there are some trees and shrubs for shelter so the birds can run for cover when the hawk visits.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philip View Post
Now that I was thinking about it, that poof of feathers on the ground kept cropping up. I've seen this before. In exactly the same spot, just to the right of our steps, 4 meters out of the alley as the sidewalk starts. I've seen this a number of times. I never knew exactly what to make of it, but I had some fairly strong suspicions.
I wonder... does this hawk make a habit of this particular spot?
Could be..Birds of prey are pretty smart...They'll sit over a bait pile or a feeding station (Bird feeder) KNOWING it's a draw to other smaller edible critters!
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:29 AM   #9
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chipmunk

This hawk often perches on our woodpile.
He knows there is a large colony of chipmunks living beneath the logs. Smart Hawk.

Doesn't look like he misses too many meals eh?
Hawk in pigeon killing shocker!-hawk.jpg
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:11 AM   #10
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Quite the chesty babe Becky.

I love the way hawks either coolly regard their surroundings, or intently watch something.
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behavior, bird, bird behavior, birds, birds of prey, cooper's hawk, feathers, fly, flying, hawk, hawks, hunt, hunting, killing, meals, pigeon, predator, prey, raptor, shocker, swoop, wings

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