Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

On Sunday morning, I was just about to let our dog out to do her early-morning business, when I spotted a young hawk sitting in the flower bed below our deck. So my long-suffering dog had to cross her legs while I grabbed a camera. I took a couple of shots through the window in the kitchen door, and then cautiously opened the door and took a couple more, through the deck rails. With those shots in the can (well, the SD card) I moved slowly out to the deck rail and took some more, including the one where he or she decided to take off. I also got an out of focus shot showing the tail, which in my opinion is the deciding factor in calling this bird a Coopers, not a sharp shinned hawk.

At least you can see the tail feathers’ shape.

At this point, I thought the photo shoot was over, and let the dog out. But then I saw the bird giving me a dirty look from the top of our wooden pergola. So I just swung around and kept shooting.

I think this was the only time I I have ever stopped taking hawk pictures while it was still around, but how many shots of a bird on a board did I need, anyway? Meanwhile, the dog was still on the top step of the deck waiting for me to get back to the normal routine, so I hung up the bird feeders. For some reason, we didn’t get many birds at the feeders for a while.

It was only when I looked at the photos that I discovered my camera was set at a fixed ISO rather than automatic, so the first set of photos with the hawk on the ground were four stops underexposed. I suppose the moral of the story is to check the basic settings before putting it away, because there sure as heck isn’t going to be time when there’s a hawk camping in the garden.