Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk

Around 5:00 this afternoon, on a cool, sunny day, as I was driving home from an errand, coming down the last hill on the way to our house, a fairly large bird was standing in the middle of the road ahead. I slowed to a stop not too far away, expecting it to fly, but it didn’t move.

I had no binoculars but was close enough to see it well. It was a medium-size hawk, not as large as a Red-tailed or Red-shouldered, but considerably larger than a songbird. It looked tall and slender, but sturdy, with a prominent head and profile, and a long, narrow tail stretched out behind it, resting on the pavement. It was a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, with brownish-gray back and head, very pale, almost white breast, streaked with fine, dark brown, especially on the upper breast. For at least three or four minutes, it just stood there, turning its head to look around. No other vehicles came along, and it seemed not bothered by my pickup truck. Finally, I began to inch the truck very slowly forward – and as soon as it moved, the hawk flew, spreading its wings and sailing low over the road, over the open grass of a yard and into the trees beyond.

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