Sunday, December 16, 2012
|Decapitated mourning dove under my feeder.|
photos by Jonathan Schechter
December 16, 2012
Cooper’s Hawks are one of the most skilled fliers of our Michigan woodlands. These beautiful
predators that feast on other birds are sometime seen zig-zagging between trees in high speed pursuit of
feathered prey. They are highly adaptable and quickly discover where bird feeders are located, feeders that
lure in midsized birds that practice feeder gluttony. And that makes for easy picking.
Such was the case at my home late Sunday afternoon.
I have a small platform feeder attached to my window next to where I sit and write and daydream.
Today it was more dreaming than writing. My feeder was busy with chickadees and nuthatches and a
few mourning doves. The doves stay put and gorge themselves while the smaller birds grab a single seed
and rapidly fly off to the nearby apple tree to eat their morsel.
A sudden blur of activity followed by a thump on the window shattered my lazy day trance.
A Cooper's had just hit the feeder and the dove's scattered.
I did not realize at that moment a kill was made.
A few hour later I went outside and discovered a dove under the feeder, minus his head, apparently a
delicacy for this wonderful accipiter. There are no "good guys" or "bad guys" here, just endless
interactions between predator and prey in a human altered environment; in this case, a nature-loving
writer whose habit of overstocking the feeder set the stage for a Cooper's hawk dinner.
Other doves will return---and the hawk will be back!