The Cat-like Grace of a Young Cooper’s Hawk

On a cool, sunny, breezy morning in mid-October, I was standing on the back deck when a Cooper’s Hawk swept low over the grass and up into an oak not far inside the woods, where I had a beautiful view of it through the leaves. It was a juvenile, a mottled dark brown on the back, with fine, charcoal-dark streaks on the breast, long, narrow, banded tail, white on the tip, and a dark head and slightly paler brown face, with hooked bill and gleaming eyes. Cat-like, it sat very still and watchful, with slow, stealthy movements, leaning over and stretching out, then easing back up, and turning its head. After several minutes, it flew again, not far, but I lost it among the trees.

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