Monday, June 28, 2010

Corralitas Drive: Cooper's Hawk Sighting

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 26, 2010, 6:37 PM. Cooper's Hawk on high voltage wires above 2590 Corralitas Drive. (Click on photo to enlarge.)
Yes, it's a poor quality photo, but Cooper's Hawks rarely present me with a good photo op. Saturday evening, I was walking down Corralitas, when a small hawk was trying to find a foothold on the power lines. It was flapping and really having a hard time balancing. I was able to catch one quick shot before a van in need of a muffler drove by, scaring the hawk off. It flew off unsteadily toward a tree in the backyard of 2642 Corralitas.
The hawk was larger than a Kestrel and a lot smaller than a Red Tail Hawk. It had very long legs, small head and horizontal black stripes on the underside of its long tail. Neighbors of Red Car Canyon report regularly seeing small hawks flying among the trees.
Cooper's Hawks hunt birds in forested areas. Last year, a Riverside Place neighbor watched one of these hawks pick a dove off the power lines outside his house. Another Riverside Place neighbor reported seeing Cooper's Hawks mating in the Eucalyptus trees in his backyard.
It may also be a Sharp Shinned Hawk, the two species are very similar. Learn more about both hawks on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website.
Cooper's Hawks and Sharp Shinned Hawks are protected species in California. If you capture photos of hawks or other wildlife in the Red Car Neighborhood, send them to us, with details of your encounter: Do not attempt to feed or pet wildlife.