Bird watching and feeding birds sometimes has an unfortunate downside – SC Times

For the last two months, our bird feeders have been extremely busy. They are always busy in the winter, but this year was a bit different.
It was mid-January when the redpolls arrived. These northern birds rarely make it this far south in the winter. However, with the heavy snow and colder temps up north, some of them moved farther south than normal and ended up in our yard.
This implosion, as it is called, got the attention of a common bird predator called a Cooper’s hawk. The dozens of redpolls frantically working our feeders would be hard to miss for a bird hawk of this nature.
The first few times we witnessed the juvenile Cooper’s landing in the yard, it left without finding lunch. The last visit, was a different story.
As soon as I saw the hawk land on top of a bird feeder, I grabbed the camera I always keep in the sunroom. It appeared to have no interest in anything other than straightening out a few wayward feathers on its breast.
As I snapped some photos, it nonchalantly surveyed its surroundings. And then, it made its move.
I hadn’t even seen the chickadee hiding in the bushes until the Cooper’s hawk went after it. The chickadee did not want to leave the protection of the cover but the hawk went right into the brush. The chickadee had no choice but to try to escape.
A few seconds later, it was over. The young Cooper’s had succeeded in making a kill.
Over the years that we have lived in the woods, I have observed quite a number of Cooper’s hawks catch birds in our yard. Although I hate to see it happen, it is a part of nature. The hawks are only doing what they are designed to do.
Cooper’s hawks are a medium sized bird predator that belongs to a family called accipiters. They have short powerful wings and long tails that act as a rudder for fast maneuverability when flying. It is this maneuverability that allows them to turn on a dime and pluck their prey right out of the air.
Bird watching and feeding birds sometimes has an unfortunate downside.