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In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.

I had to do a double take out the window when I got up from our dining table after lunch today. An adult Cooper’s Hawk surprised me by calmly sitting on our fence as though it was just an extension of the post. It makes me happy to know that as we sat dining on leftover pizza, a Cooper’s Hawk was sitting a few feet away looking for its own meal. We frequently get juvenile Cooper’s Hawks in our backyard and I’ve watched them take a number of rats from our neighbor’s backyard over the last few years. The most memorable time was the Cooper’s Hawk who had caught a rat and flew right up past the upstairs window I was watching from, before veering straight out away from where I stood. The rat clasped in its talons still trying to get away, it’s feet instead running madly through the air.

It’s not often we get an adult Cooper’s Hawk. They are stunningly fierce-looking birds. They’re not a large raptor, but they have a black back, red chest, yellow feet with sharp talons and a wicked hooked bill. But the most fierce aspect of their appearance is their red eyes. There are few birds with eyes so defining as that of an adult Cooper’s Hawk.

This one didn’t tolerate me at the window for long and flew off after I took only a couple of photos.


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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction. Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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