Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Origin: North America
Sighted at: My apartment complex, Hill Country, Austin, TX

It’s been a cold couple of weeks in Texas, and I’ve been disinclined to go outside, even for pictures of animals. Today, however, an animal forced its way into my view: a Cooper’s Hawk flew right in front of my face when I arrived at home during my lunch hour, and settled itself atop a bare tree next to my building.

I ran up to my apartment on the third floor and put off my puppy’s happy greetings and grabbed my camera. I ran back out on the balcony, found the bird, lined up a shot, press the button, and — no SD card! I ran back to my apartment, dodged an increasingly confused and anxious puppy, found a card, popped it in, ran back outside, and miraculously found the bird still sitting there, waiting patiently for me to take its picture.

This particular hawk is a juvenile. An adult Cooper’s Hawk has dark, charcoal-colored plumage, with a red-colored breast. They’re unique amongst raptors for using their claws to strangle their prey, rather than killing it with their beak.