This young Cooper’s Hawk hadn’t read his hunting manual. I first saw him perched on a rock at the water’s edge, not ten yards from where he is in the video above. As I was setting up the camera, he suddenly dashed horizontally, half running and half fluttering, toward a flock of pigeons feeding on the ground. No dummies, they spotted him instantly and in a great flurry of beating wings, fled the scene. Young Master Cooper didn’t even get a loose feather for his trouble. The video shows him at the scene of his defeat, perhaps pondering what went wrong.
Mature Cooper’s Hawks normally hunt from the air or from a high perch. They are devastatingly effective, gliding or diving silently, and unafraid to pursue their prey into thick foliage. Confronted with a grown-up hawk, one of the pigeons would very likely have become Christmas dinner.
Thanks to raptor expert John Davis for help with the bird identification.