February 21, 2011

2/20, Morningside Coopie

Cooper's hawks are often seen in Manhattan's parks at this time of year, wintering over for a few days to several weeks. The area around the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is no exception; I've probably seen Coopies there every winter since I started hawkwatching.

Late Sunday afternoon I'd wondered over to see if the cathedral red-tails were getting ready for the new nesting season. Almost immediately I bumped into one of the neighborhood dog-walkers who reported seeing the red-tails working on their nest, and then pointed out a hawk perched in a tree in Morningside Park across the street from the cathedral.

Morningside Coopie

Hmmm, long tail feathers and a streaky breast. Looks like one of our winter visitors. Full crop and fluffed up for the cold, too.

The Coopie stayed in that tree for 10 or 15 minutes, but as sunset got closer, it began flitting about the tree tops looking for a roost. Several times it perched much closer to the ground.

Morningside Coopie

And as sunset came, it returned to one of its earlier perches, a thick cluster of twigs and branches that would be difficult for a night-time attacker to get through. The spot was only 15 feet above a park path, but so obscured that you'd only notice the Coopie hiding in there if you'd seen him fly in.

Morningside Coopie