Friday, March 11, 2011

Coopers Takes Chipmunk

While sitting at my laptop just now (at 6:30 am), reading about the earthquake and tsunami, I watched a large hawk fly into my viewshed and land just beyond the feeders. My binoculars are close at hand so I managed a quick look before the bird lifted off with a chipmunk in its talons.

This was a female Cooper's hawk - large head, gray back, orange streaking on breast, long, rounded tail when spread. I even saw streaks of white feathers on the back of her head, which I've not noticed before in this species. She grabbed the chipmunk off the lower trunk of a large white pine. Oh my. I think this was the chipmunk that I wrote about on Monday -- chipmunks emerge from winter slumber. I've been watching this chipmunk all week as it fattened up on sunflower seeds cast off from the feeders by the finches. The plump chipmunk made a nice meal for the Cooper's hawk.

The view from my window offers some spectacular sights. I get to see a predator catch its prey. There are many fewer Cooper's hawks (predator) than chipmunks (prey), which is the nature of food webs. As I write this post, two more chipmunks emerge from underground burrows near the feeders. All seems normal.

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