A Cooper’s hawk after a wet night in Comox
On our morning outing to Comox from Bowser, British Columbia, Bob and I stopped at the edge of the Salish Sea. Nothing much was stirring in the Sound, so we walked into an adjacent brushy area and came upon a very wet Cooper’s Hawk.
The day began as a very damp, hazy morning, and as Bob and I sought our direction along the faint impressions of a trail, all was quiet; the waters lay still.
A solitary Great Blue Heron stalked some fish in the nearby shallows, and even as we began to feel the dampness creeping into our bones, a faint glimmer of sunshine glinted off the rippling sea.
In the distance, a pair of Bald Eagles perched on a sandbar or some sort of submerged log, likewise looking for their first meal of the day.
I happened to be in the lead as we began exploring, and when I stepped gingerly over some fallen branches, a large bird burst from the deep marsh grasses and took to the branch of a nearby tree.
It soon became apparent that the overnight dampness and early morning rain had compromised this Cooper’s Hawk’s ability to fly. It was attempting to exploit the wind as a means to dry its moisture-laden feathers.
We skirted the tree a fair distance from the trunk, but the hawk remained confident in its position and simply spread its wings and tail feathers wide to get the maximum benefit from the light breeze.
We had seen a similarly sopping wet hawk in our own neighborhood park in Toronto, Ontario, some months earlier and were surprised at the length of time that was required for the plumage to dry out.
Although the small songbirds in the immediate area did not have to worry about an impending attack from the Cooper’s Hawk, the same could not be said for the various creatures lurking in the shallow water near shore. At any moment, the Great Blue Heron might strike and come up with a tasty morsel to eat.
Other than the Cooper’s Hawk, few birds seemed to occupy the bushes in the small wooded area. The hawk is a formidable bird of prey not to be messed with whether it has wet feathers or not.
We left the hawk in peace and continued along the shore of the Salish Sea hopeful of seeing some Bald Eagles at close range. Bob and I were sure we would be successful given the proximity to the sea. On top of that, we had heard rumours of a Burrowing Owl in the area. Being unfamiliar with the local terrain, we were unsuccessful in finding the owl. It was very enjoyable passing a few hours by the seaside on Vancouver Island while searching for some new bird life. Time just flies when you’re having fun!
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