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coopers hawk and squirrel?

Posted by vaderbanger (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 28, 06 at 20:55

i have a family of cooper hawks living close by. one of the juveniles has been staked out at my feeder, often hiding either on my roof or in close by tree's were he dashes out and catches blue jays and a few song birds.
i dont mind his presence im actually glad hes getting enough to eat.
my question is regarding the squirrels. i dont have many just a few but i do enjoy them. now can a coopers take down a large squirrel? the squirrels seem almost "dumb" around the hawks presence and its just a matter of time before one of them ends up as a meal, if the cooper can take such large prey.
also, since the coopers have such an abundent food souce in my yard will this keep them coming back? or do they move on eventually?
i like all birds, i even welcome hawks, so i dont plan on taking down my feeders due to the hawks presence :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

I once saw a Coopers hawk attempt to take a gray squirrel that was walking across the ground, but he was not successful and the squirrel got free and made it up a tree and into a hole, from which he proceeded to bark for about an hour.
I saw another Coopers try to pick another gray squirrel off a small tree limb, but the squirrel must have had good grip on the limb as the force of the attack spun him around the limb about 3 times. He must have been somewhat dazed or terrified, as he hung there upside down for what seemed like several minutes before he took off for his hole.
Whether this is typical behavior for Coopers hawks I can't say, but I know of at least 2 that tried (unsuccessfully) to make a meal of a squirrel.

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

glad the squirrels got away :)
so far the coopers here have ingnored the squirrel and go straight for the birds. so maybe the squirrel is too big/heavy after all
the squirrels bravery is either plain stupid or he knows something we dont lol

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

They certainly can take out a squirrel!! I got these pictures from my back deck. I'm in Laurel, MD. Christy

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

I had a cooper's hawk take a Carolina wren right from between my feet on my back patio! The cooper's hawk cornered the wren against the house. I went to see what the commotion was all about, and the wren hopped between my feet for safty. Any port in a storm. The cooper's hawk was about five ft. from me on the patio. I froze. Couldn't believe the bird would just sit there that close to me, and then he went between my feet took the Carolina wren, landed again in my flower bed, readjusted the wren in his talons and took off. My wrens played on my back patio, and were actually pretty tame for wild birds, until that hawk attack and they haven't been back to the patio since, a year ago now. Until the other day, I've bought large evergreen plants and keep them on the patio till I can plant them. Guess all the evergreens made the wrens feel safe coming back to the patio!

I don't know about the squirrels. I have tons of them. The hawks do seem a lot more interested in the birds, and I do have to take the feeder stations down occasionally so the hawks will move on.

Funny thing, and I could be totally wrong. Just wondering. I used to have a tiny little pomeranian I walked (lived out in the country). It seems like hawks followed us on our walks. Husband used to call my Pom, hawk bait.

I have to watch my African Grey like a hawk when I take him outside. He's certainly hawk bait.

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

About a week ago, I watched a huge hawk swoop down and carry off a squirrel, in my urban neighborhood. I live near a large wooded park in Tidewater, Virginia, and have seen an increase in hawks just during the past year. About one year ago, after heavy rains, I noted a hawk drying its wing span in a tree, where it lingered quite some time. A majestic sight....

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

Michele, I just saw this, and I hope you come back here to read this: Forget the Pom. Do not take your lovely African grey outside. He is Cooper's hawk bait, and you have personally seen what Cooper's hawks will do to get what they want.

I think I recall you are trying to attract wrens back to your back yard. Keep the African grey inside : ), away from the hawks. That would be a sad ending.

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

Coopers hawks are more likley on taking a bird than squirrel. If you had a red tail family i would say yes worry about the squirrels, although squirrels have been known to bite a toe of a hawk off and severly injure it. So I guess what I am saying is don't worry about the squirrels and just keep feeding the song birds so the coopers hawk doesn't go hungry and even look at the squirrels.

RE: coopers hawk and squirrel?

I, too, would think it would have to be a hungry Coopers that would tackle a grown Grey Squirrel, but I'm sure there are Hawks just that hungry, when they haven't been successful for a day or two--particularly at this time of year, when they need sustinence to survive the cold weather. But, with luck, and just the right death-blow to the Squirrel, it can be done, as in christy's photo.

Not far from where christy2828 captured that neat picture, a friend of mine owns an organic market, and while visiting with him the other day, in front of his store, I was somewhat shocked to see a Coopers Hawk fly down to the parking lot in front of his store, and try to catch a House Sparrow (which we call English Sparrows in this area) that was pecking around near a parked car. The Hawk flew next to the car, and the House Sparrow went UNDER the car, and actually got up into the undercarriage of it to escape the Hawk. I couldn't believe it when the Coopers Hawk went under the car, looking around for the Sparrow. The Hawk knew the Sparrow was there somewhere, since it went under the car, and did not fly away. The Hawk walked around under the car, looking behind the tires, etc., for quite a few minutes, before coming out the other side, walking around a bit more, then flying up to a tree.

I had never seen such a thing, as a Coopers Hawk actually hunting on FOOT, not from the air. I got the idea that he had been playing this cat and mouse game with other Sparrows in the parking lot--he seemed so casual about it all, not paying a bit of attention to me and my friend, just a very short distance away. Of course, it was in a strip mall in town, so I'm sure the Hawk had no reason to fear people.

My friend told me the Hawk hunts outside his store all the time, generally perching in the Sycamore trees in front of the store. He said he had seen the Hawk crash into the hedge in front of his store, to get a Sparrow, and one time, crash into his window, in an unsuccessful attempt--then, shook itself off, and flew back up to the tree.

Boldest Coopers Hawk I ever saw--but I guess that's what it takes to catch Sparrows in the city--no fear!

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