[mou] Cooper's hawk, Hamline & Wellesley, St. Paul
birds at moosewoods.us
Sat Jan 26 20:48:41 CST 2008
Sometime in late morning or early afternoon, the local Cooper's hawk made a
meal of pigeon in our yard. I had just changed the birdbath water, refilled
feeders,and swept the walks. Our "seed-hawks" were gathering expectantly
nearby. In the yard was a pigeon that had been sheltering with us for 4 or 5
days. It had no visible signs of injury but was possibly sick or at least
weak, as it would only scurry away from us on foot, rather than attempt
flight. It had no trouble finding food, and apparently survived the bitter
cold nights by sleeping in the pile of composting leaves and twigs behind
the garage, where it would disappear when disturbed. It spent daylight hours
sunning itself on the warm stones and patch of open grass in front of the
service door, where its gray coloring helped it blend in with the door and
lower parts of the garage. If we approached, it would scoot along the garage
foundation and around the corner, to the safety of the compost.
As I got ready to depart for a bird-hike, I noticed the hawk fly overhead to
a tall maple, two yards over. A few bold chickadees chased each other
noisily through the plum tree before eventually making themselves scarce
along with the rest of the birds. The pigeon stayed still at first, but when
it felt compelled to move, it chose to cross the open snow from garage to
house. It settled in the sun on the northwest corner of the foundation,
close to the feeders, but by then it had the attention of the hawk, who was
likely waiting for my departure. All that was left of the pigeon this
afternoon was a pile of feathers and two drops of blood.
I had intended to catch the bird for treatment if it didn't recover on its
own; aside from humane considerations, I didn't want it to further spread
any illness it might have. Now I have to wonder: will its fate be passed on
to its predator? Should I have worked harder to catch it?
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