For the past week I have been watching an immature Cooper’s Hawk hunting in the woods out behind my apartment building. On first glance I had thought it was a Red Tailed Hawk as it is of similar size but the tail feather colouring give it away. I have a perfect view from my balcony of hawks,  a variety of woodpeckers and other interesting species. 

As I hope I successfully conveyed in my Zoom webinar last night for Idea Exchange we have lots of interesting wildlife here in Southern Ontario that compare favourably to what one might see in foreign countries.

This morning the hawk moved around the trees before settling on a spot overlooking a clearing. Adult Cooper’s hawks are capable of hunting smaller birds such as mourning doves and other species which gather at the bird feeders my neighbours have erected.  These hawks will also go after mammals, mice, voles and even squirrels. At one point, though,  I watched this one get spooked by a squirrel which dared climb up to the same branch as the hawk. It made me wonder if the squirrel would be so comfortable with a more confident adult hawk.

The hawk spotted movement on the ground about 30 metres from the building and launched itself like a bullet through the tree branches. This time it was silent but I have heard it crashing into branches on other strikes.

Landing on the ground it began tugging beneath some grass as if there was a vole or mouse hiding. It spent a couple of minutes foraging then started looking around. It poked its beak into the grass a couple of times and seemed to be chewing something very tiny. It wasn’t a whole mouse that’s for sure.

A barking dog seemed to distract the hawk from its purpose and it flew back into a tree. Yesterday I had seen it perched and ready for action even though a woman walking her dog up the hill approached nearby. The hawk just sat there. 

After a few more minutes the hawk flew around the building and vanished. No doubt it will be back tomorrow or even later today. It’s a tough way to live. I wish it luck. Here’s to enjoying wildlife in our neighbourhoods!


    1. Paul E Gains

      I hadn’t thought of that Jerry. That’s because I don’t have an MBA from UWO, right? LOL! Yes I have been lucky with wildlife sightings from my balcony. Enjoy your surroundings!!!!

  1. John

    Thanks Paul. We also very much enjoyed your slide show last night..
    You may see enough foxes without leaving home but perhaps this sighting will get you out on another local excursion. Around 3pm this afternoon, Jaellayna and I saw a fox emerge from the woods, pause while observing us on the Cambridge to Dundas rail trail a short distance downstream of Kilometer 60 marker, then head up a path leading to German School Rd. I suspect that it frequents the area as there were several sets of identical tracks leading to and from the river.
    With best wishes,

    1. Paul E Gains

      Hello John, Glad you enjoyed the presentation last night. As for the foxes three or four times over the last couple of years I have seen foxes along the rail trail on either side of the unfinished bridge. I think that is roughly the area you saw your fox. Each time I saw it I was racing along on my bike, doing around 27km/hr, fast enough that the fox doesn’t hear you approaching. On one occasion the fox had a rabbit in its mouth and we stared at each other for about three seconds….long enough to get a good photograph. However, since I was riding I didn’t have a camera! So you can imagine my joy at seeing foxes from my balcony LOL! Sounds like you are having some good wildlife encounters..any more coyotes in your garden? It’s good to be on the lookout for wildlife – it’s all around us!

  2. John

    That’s the area, just over a kilometer downstream of those old railway bridge abutments and piers now known as the Murray Overlook.
    Now that the Paris Links Golf Course is becoming a subdivision backing onto the former railway line that crossed those bridge foundations, it would be good to see it connected as a side trail with to the existing rail trail. Those piers and abutments are structurally sound and more than adequate to support a pedestrian bridge deck.
    As for our back yard wildlife; we are back to the usual number of squirrels, chipmunks and a few additional rabbits but no more coyotes taking refuge.

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