Look Who Visited Us!!!


This fella came right to the bird feeders in the front garden to visit. He’s a Red-Tailed Hawk. I was stunned! I was sitting in the learning room working on lesson plans when I happened to look out the window. I could not believe what I saw. I nearly hyper-ventilated calling Rob and the kids. We all snuck around the corner to peek through the kitchen to watch him survey the garden. He stayed for almost 5 minutes while I snapped a gazillion pictures. We’ve seen him before in our trees in the back, and we once saw him snatch a dove right off the ground in the backyard…that was…ummmm…amazing.


He’s a majestic bird, and it was amazing seeing him so close. What a treat!

Edited to say:
Thank you to all who offered such great comments! We thought this might be a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk because of the numbers of them around here and the distinctive call, but after Lydia’s astute observations, we pulled out all the bird books again today and went through the gazillion pictures I took and are now sure that you’re all correct – it’s a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk! Thank you!


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15 Comments

  1. my husband and i saw one the other morning at our house too. it was in the very early hours and it flew up to a palm tree. i thought it was one of the chicken, but, no, my husband said, it was the hawk he'd been telling me about. and as we stood there and watched it, he flew over us and perched on the roof right above where we were standing. stared at us and then flew back to his tree. he might have his eyes on our chickens, which bothers me, but he was so majestic. and with such huge wings!
    God's creatures never cease to amaze me.

  2. We've had house finches do that but never, never something as exciting as a hawk.

    How's your Ivy Basket plan coming along?

  3. What a great picture and dramatic experience! I looked at your photo up close and I think it could also be a Cooper's Hawk based on the eye color, tail markings, and diet. We have had many a Cooper's hawk in our yard and they have the light/yellowish eyes, thick tail banding, and prey on birds. Red-tails usually have dark eyes unless they are juveniles. Cool find!

  4. Beautiful picture!

    I just recently found your blog and have so enjoyed visiting. Just wanted to share on this post that my son, who is an avid birder, thinks you may have a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk. One distinguishing mark from cooper's is a notch in the tail when enclosed and your photos clearly show one. Also the head and neck are smaller.

    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing photo/experience. As birders we were tickled to read about it.

  5. Oh, I'm really enjoying hearing from all of you about possible identification of the hawk. One reason we thought it was a Red-Tailed Hawk is because of his distinctive call, but I'm starting to doubt and I'd love to learn more…keep your ideas coming…this will make a great nature study/birding lesson this week!!! Thank you ladies!!!

  6. Oh, I almost forgot…anonymous asked about the Ivy basket…It's finished!!! Yay!! Hopefully we can get it published sometime this week. Watch on Serendipity!

  7. A friend sent me to your blog. Your guy is either a Cooper's or a Sharp-Shinned—honestly, I can't tell them apart. They are both accipiter hawks, smaller and more slender than red-tails, with distinctive black and white barring on the tail that you can see very well in your photos. We have one in our neighborhood, too, that knows about our birdfeeder as a handy food supply. 🙁 These birds are pretty amazing to watch as they can fly like fighter pilots through trees. (Red-tails are buteo hawks, who usually “hawk” above fields.) They are incredible, aren't they? I'm so glad you got the thrill, and I hope all your sweet little songbirds are safe. 🙂 Yours, Tamara

  8. Awesome photos!!! Lydia says it's a Cooper's as well. It looks awfully large! Cooper's (16.5″) and Sharp-shinned (11″) are almost identical except for size. It must have been extremely exciting to see in person as Lydia is excited just looking at the picture! 🙂

  9. Thank you all ladies!

    We thought this might be a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk because of the numbers of them around here and the distinctive call, but after Lydia's astute observations, we pulled out all the bird books again today and went through the gazillion pictures I took and are now sure that you're all correct – it's a juvenile Cooper's Hawk!

    What fun we had sleuthing this!

    Thank you all for responding and helping us!

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