Many of us have marvelled over the arrival of a pair of Cooper’s Hawks in Vermont Square Park this year. The hawks have converted a squirrel’s nest for themselves in the midst of a deciduous tree in the playground. Insert joke here about Seaton Village real estate and all the renovations currently underway in the hood…!
There was concern the hawks would be disturbed by the machinery and construction in the playground, but so far so good. The hawks continue to live in their nest in the tree in the playground, and can be seen perched on a nearby branch, or taking off from or descending into their nest throughout the day.
Seaton Village resident, naturalist, author and photographer David Beadle and his son and fellow photographer, James, have been studying the pair since their arrival in the park.
James and David kindly responded to a request for words and pictures of the pair – so, many thanks to James and David for the information and beautiful photos below!
Cooper’s Hawks in Vermont Park – David and James Beadle
On 7th March my son James came rushing in after school saying there was a Cooper’s Hawk perched in a tree in Vermont Square Park. We rushed out, cameras in hand, and found the highly vocal bird rather easily. It was an immature (year-old) female, still brown on the mantle and wings and streaky below. After watching her for some time another Cooper’s Hawk briefly appeared, this time a lovely grey and orange adult – presumably a male. After a while both birds departed, but we thought they may attempt to nest here as we had seen one building a nest (which it soon abandoned) in the same area last year.
A few days later I returned to obtain photos of the adult. Both birds were easy to find as they were constantly calling. I watched them copulating on one occasion, confirming that the adult bird was indeed the male! The male was indeed building a nest and he struck quite a comical figure as he crashed around in the trees snapping off twigs to add to it. The nest itself was built on top of an old squirrel nest about ten meters up in a large tree in the center of the playground.
As I write the birds are still around, or at least the male has been sighted a few times attempting to catch birds at local feeders. The female could be sitting on eggs now, but it’s difficult to see whether there is a bird on the nest. In the photos the adult male is on the left and the immature female on the right (females are larger than the males). Cooper’s Hawks are frequently to be found in highly urban areas, where they take advantage of a ready supply of small birds visiting bird feeders in gardens.
To continue reading and to view more of James’ and David’s pictures: Cooper’s Hawks in Vermont Park