Street Hawk


An immature sharp-shinned hawk (or possibly an immature Cooper’s hawk; the bird references I’ve used, Petersen and Sibley, say they’re sometimes impossible to tell apart) in front of the neighbor’s house this morning. These hawks hunt other birds, but this one might have been angling for a squirrel meal; when we (the dog and I) surprised the bird, which was on the neighbor’s front fence, a squirrel scurried away from the same area.


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Unphotographed Wildlife Moment

On Durant Avenue, a couple blocks west of Telegraph, about an hour before dark. I happened to look up and see a large-ish gray bird sitting on a telephone wire, facing the other way. Pigeon. Pigeon? Maybe too big for that. Looking a little harder, it looked like a little hawk. I crossed the street and looked up. Its chest was reddish, and it had a little slate-colored cap: either a sharp-shinned or a Cooper’s hawk. Cooper’s hawks we’ve had in our neighborhood before: One caught a morning dove in our backyard once; and another time, we were walking up to a nearby restaurant when we noticed feathers floating down from the top of a telephone pole: a Cooper’s hawk taking apart its own evening repast (mourning dove again). After nearly 30 years here, I’m still surprised by the wild things that set up housekeeping right here in the middle of the city.

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