Joined: Feb. 2006
|A Cooper's hawk figured out how to get into our pigeon/quail house|
Nice big 'ole adult coop photo there. You can see she's (I think) molting one or more inner primaries.
Where I've banded most frequently, in Nevada, our pigeon/dove/starling coops are Coop- and Gos-proof. It took us years, though, to figure out how to thwart ...
(not for the faint of heart ...)
Problems with them digging under pigeon coops - ours tend to be about 8 feet high and first attempts were just on the ground, skunks would get in, and it would be like a dog in a herd of sheep.
Then we tried chicken-wire flooring to keep them out, one dug under and left us with some legless pigeons (even with plenty of things to roost on, there will always be a few that prefer to roost on the ground, hey, they're domesticated, you expect smart?)
Anyway, we finally figured it out. And now the skunks no longer hang out around our camp, which is too bad, because we no longer have skunk stories to share. Like the time our cook fell half-asleep in our central tent, in the rocking chair I used to carry up there, in front of the wood stove on a cold october night at 9,000 feet in the Great Basin ... stroking the back of the cat that was rubbing up against her leg ... wait ... cat? There ain't no cats in field camp! SCREAMING "oh my god I've been petting a skunk!" ... poor skunk, just wanted a little lovin'!
Also, I get the impression that Cooper's Hawks are more common than Sharp-Shinned Hawks, and much more adapted to heavily built up, residential neighborhoods. I see Cooper's Hawks around town here pretty routinely, but I've never seen a Sharp-Shinned anywhere except out in the countryside.
Depends on where you live, really. Sharp-shinneds are common around feeders in new england in winter. Where I live (portland, oregon) both are common in winter. Only coops nest here in the city, though, and are doing so with increasing frequency over the last couple of decades (true throughout the willamette valley).
Coops nest throughout the lower 48 and southern Canada, while the sharpies range extends much further north and they don't nest in the more southern parts of the US. So depending on where you live, and the time of year, you may be much more likely to see a Coop than a sharpie.
While plenty of Coops and sharpies winter in the US, most of our band returns from eastern Nevada are from Sinaloa and Sonora, probably due to our banding site being east and south of where most Coops and sharpies migrating to winter in western OR/WA/CA are headed. And a lot of our wintering sharpies are just coming down from the Cascades, like many of the yellow-rumped warblers and other small birds they like to prey on.