Posts Tagged ‘forest’

Doresanipalya Forest Research Station, 160417

April 18, 2017

It was still very pleasant when several of us met up at the Millennium Avenue gate of DFRS, and Harish led us, literally, up the garden path.

Knowing what it is to drive long distances for birding, I must appreciate the interest of people who do this. For example, Latha and Satyan came all the way from Vidyaranyapura! Others in our group have the DFRS as their backyard and they just walked to the outing.

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The place is green and lovely now:

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A Shikra started off our sighting and bird list, and in fact, the sightings of these birds (probably two individuals, a male and female) were a recurring part of our whole morning.

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It was nice to have several knowledgeable people talk to us about plants, insects and several other things, as we walked. Since we are still at the season where some trees and plants are in flower, the walk was punctuated by plant and tree information too. We started with the exquisite flowers of the Sesbania grandiflora, commonly called the Vegetable Hummingbird tree….

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The list went on. Ajit was delighted at finding Ixora pavetta:

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Here’a closeup of the fragrant flowers:

For example, Ajit powdered the resin of the Shorea roxburghii, and told us the common name of the tree…”dhoopa”, as the resin is ignited during the puja rituals. We heard an interesting story about why the cashew is so called (ask Harish if you weren’t there!)

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Resin of Shorea roxburghii

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When powdered, the “dhoopa” resin gave off a stronger fragrance.

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Nest of Social Spiders

Perhaps there were no “unusual” surprises…but the “usual gang of suspects” were enough to keep us interested throughout. A few Flycatchers, the flowing song of several Magpie Robins, both seen and unseen, a tailorbird flitting in the bamboo thicket…so the list, and the walk, went.

There were some very interesting mammal sightings too. A group of these, known as the Bangalore Butterfly Club

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Rohit, one of the founders of the Bangalore Butterfly Club, RHS

were having their fortnightly “buttering” walk there, and we had a Tiger sighting ….as well as Jezebels, Skippers,

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Indian Skipper

…and a few Blues in the short time we
spent together. They were beginning their outing while we were finishing ours. I think the time frame is one of the things that determine whether one devotes oneself to birds or butterflies!

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Common Picture-wing, a dragonfly.

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A dead Tailed Jay allowed us to see this butterfly close up.The antennae and the body were eaten away, probably by ants.

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Funnel web spider waiting for prey

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Exoskeletons shed by Cicadas

A few mongrel puppies looked delightful as they settled at the base of a bamboo plant, but the few bonnet macaques I’ve noticed once in a while were absent. Since these invariably try to snatch the processed food and drink from people’s hands, it was good not to see them!

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We shared biscuits and khakras, and that made the walk all the more pleasant…but after 9am comes Breakfast O’ Clock, and soon, a few of us were seated in Adiga’s, getting outside some calories.

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I’d like to add that I missed Deepak, and would like to take this opportunity to thank him for every 3rd Sunday outing that he’s tirelessly organized. On any 3rd Sunday walk, of course, Geetanjali and Subir Dhar, who started this outing with a few of us pitching in,
are never far from my mind.

The eBird list, diligently compiled by Prasad, is

here

and my photos are

here

Hoping to meet many of you again next weekend,

Cheers, Deepa.

Home-maker, Doresanipalya Reserve Forest, 120317

March 12, 2017

We saw a White-cheeked Barbet, idle, and free.

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It seemed to suddenly twist itself, right towards the tree.

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I’d wished to see a woodpecker, and as if granting that wish
It pecked to make a nesting-hole, work that it seemed to relish!

Here’s the bird, hard at work, rat-tatting away.

“Go and build your own home!” is what it seemed to say!

Yes, we took its sage advice and homeward went our way,
But the thought of the home-building barbet we carry through the day.

Valley School and Vaderhalli Kere, 021214

December 2, 2014

Email to bngbirds:

Highlight of my morning!

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A quick decision made Amith

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Gayatri

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and me, decide not to go to Nandi Hills as per our original plan but to visit Valley School; the three of us set off in the pre-dawn darkness, and though birding was a bit slow as we drove down the road to the Valley, things picked up once we started walking along the periphery of the School wall.

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It was delightful to walk along the familiar path after a long absence, and the bamboo groves certainly did not disappoint us!

A new raptor added to the usual Honey Buzzards seems to be the Black-shouldered Kite, of which we saw two sitting on a tree. We therefore assume that the raptor that we saw in the distance, with hovering behaviour, was not a Kestrel but one of these birds.

The Warblers, of course, delighted us, and we were often at a loss to identify various songs, or know if it was the Black Drongo that was fooling us!

A Tawny-bellied Babbler was an unsual sighting, as was that of a Jerdon’s (I think…please confirm the id) Nightjar…not on the ground, but quite high up on a tree!

The White-rumped Shama and the Asian Paradise Flycatcher flaunted themselves briefly before us.

After the Valley, we went further to Vaderahalli Lake,

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and enjoyed the sight of many waterfowl. Brahminy and Black Kites soared and swooped, and we came to breakfast at Adiga’s refreshed in mind and spirit.

The birds (those at Vaderahalli are marked with V):

Babbler, Jungle
Babbler, Tawny-bellied

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Babbler, Yellow-billed

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Barbet, Coppersmith
Barbet, White-cheeked
Bee-eater, Green
Bulbul, Red-vented
Bulbul, Red-whiskered
Bulbul, White-browed
Bushchat, Pied
Bushlark, Indian

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Coot, Common (V)
Cormorant, Little (V)
Cormorant, Great (V)
Coucal, Greater
Crow, House
Crow, Large-billed
Cuckoo, Common Hawk
Dove, Eurasian Collared
Dove, Laughing
Dove, Spotted
Drongo, Ashy
Drongo, Black
Ducks, Spot-billed (V)
Egret, Little (V)
Egret, Intermediate (V)
Flameback, Black-rumped
Flowerpecker, Pale-billed
Flycatcher, Asian Paradise
Flycatcher, Tickell’s Blue
Flycatcher, White-browed Fantail
Grebe, Little (V)
Heron, Indian Pond (V)
Honey-buzzard, Oriental
Iora, Common
Kingfisher, White-throated
Kite, Black
Kite, Black-shouldered

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Kite, Brahminy

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Koel, Asian
Lapwing, Red-wattled (V)
Minivet, Small
Myna, Common
Myna, Jungle
Nightjar

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Oriole, Eurasian Golden
Owlet, Spotted
Parakeet, Rose-ringed
Pelican, Spot-billed (V)
Prinia, Ashy
Robin, Indian
Robin, Oriental Magpie
Sandpiper, Green (V)
Shama, White-rumped
Sparrow, House
Stonechat, Common (V)
Sunbird, Purple-rumped
Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Red-rumped
Swift, Asian Palm
Tailorbird, Common
Tern, River (V)
Tern, Whiskered(V)
Tit, Great
Treepie, Rufous
Wagtail, White-browed (V)
Warbler, Booted
Warbler, Greenish

Butterflies:

Blues, Various
Coster, Tawny

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Crow, Common
Emigrant, Common
Lime, Common
Mormon, Commn
Gull. Common

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Pioneer

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Pansy, Chocolate
Pansy, Lemon
Psyche
Rose, Common
Rose, Crimson
Wanderer, Common
Yellow, Spotless Grass
Yellow, Three-spot Grass

I have put up my eBird checklist

here

My FB album is

here

Off to Kelamangalam near Hosur, Tamil Nadu, for an overnight volunteering trip…with the children of Aarohi.

Turahalli Day, 281114

December 1, 2014

For some years now, we’ve been celebrating

Turahalli Habba, or Festival, or Day

just to register the presence of those who love this patch of forest, and want to prevent any more encroachment

Here’s the

FB page

A group of us decided to do the bird walk, and here we are, at the MCS before heading out to Turahalli:

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Light gathered in the sky:

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I spotted this little gem on the side of the road:

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tells me it is a Dodge Truck from the 40’s…

“The grille is very distinctive. Don’t know the exact model, but it sure seems similar to

this

he says. Indeed it seems to be the same!

We arrived a bit late, thanks to some befuddling GPS, but still got the rising sun:

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At Turahalli, a lot of activities were going on.

There were rock climbers:

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There were people just enjoying the peace:

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Some were sharing their knowledge:

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Some were collecting trash, and laughing about their “spoils”!

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It was good to see far less trash than before, and even more heartening to see children collecting it, too:

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There was cycling:

It was good to see adult and children’s cycles!

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We opened our “birding account” on the way to Turahalli with this female

KESTREL:

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MBK pointed out this

PEACOCK

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but later the butterfly group

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told us that some people were trying to poach these birds by setting the dogs on to them. I have made a complaint to the Forest Dept, and am hoping for more active surveillance.

A

SOUTHERN COUCAL

skulked through the trees, but we were able to see it.

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A delightful

CLERODENDRUM

greeted us:

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The butterfly group got 50 species! Here’s a

COMMON CROW:

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I found this dead

FRUIT-PIERCING MOTH:

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I saw a

YELLOW PANSY:

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It was not nice, though, to see the loooong line of cars which had come for the event…but I suppose it can’t be helped!

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Naturally, there is a huge block of buildings coming up right opposite, with this as the selling point:

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Of course, some of us finished with a good breakfast at Adiga’s:

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On the way back home, I was wondering if I could hire this silver chariot!

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I’ve put up more photos on my FB album,

here

We hope the sun always shines on an undisturbed patch of Turahalli Forest:

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Children’s Day at Bandipur, 141114

November 17, 2014

As wildlife volunteers, Kumuda, Siddharth and I went to Bandipur to help celebrate Children’s Day with about 150 children from three local schools: Hangala, Mangala, Bheemannabeedu.

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I love that old Karnataka logo!

Here are the Forest Dept. officials at the event:

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13 of the children spoke about wildlife and conservation, and we were very impressed. One of the Adivasi teachers also spoke with great passion.

Here’s Chandrakala, a versatile girl who both sang and spoke well:

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Here are some of the children, who ran up and asked to be photographed…such delights!

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Here’s everyone at the end of the event:

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Here are all the Eco-Volunteers who attended:

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(Deepa, Harsha, Satish, Veena, Ashritha, Kumuda, Sandeep, Siddharth)

Other sights, and thoughts:

Wildlife:

Love can be Wild-ly Boaring….

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Hanuman Langurs were everywhere:

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This beautiful

ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER

delighted me:

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As did this

TREE PIPIT:

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The Peacock’s breeding plumage, and That Amazing Tail, is just starting to grow out at this season.

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“Horn OK Please” is the slogan at the back of most trucks (meaning, sound your horn to overtake)…but here was a horn, sorry, antler…

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This plastic sheet, excreted (probably by a Chital) was a scary reminder that the litter we leave behind could kill animals that ingest it. This animal was lucky to be able to eliminate it.

Bandipur has always been a place of Mother and Child, for me. Here are the species that I clicked this time, quite appropriately, on Children’s Day!

Langur:

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Gaur:

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Elephant:

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Just look at those two little cuties!

Human beings:

Life at the edges of the forest continues to be hard:

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Our old temples fall into ruins:

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But instead of maintaining them, we keep on building new ones…

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Such beautiful banyan trees, shading the highway. They were planted long ago…can we keep up the practice?

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Contemporary Indian architecture certainly seems to celebrate colour!

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So do our buses!

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(Don’t miss the usual hanging-from-the-footboard mode of travel.)

We also dropped in to see Loki (Lokesh) at JLR Bandipur, and I asked permission for Kumuda and Siddharth to see the beautiful murals in some of the rooms:

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I’d written an article on the three artists who did the murals…the project was left unfinished, and the newer cottages don’t have them.

I’ve put up more photos on my FB album,

here

(the official part)

and

here

(the other parts!)

Buttering, Arikere Reserve Forest, Sunday, 091114

November 12, 2014

Though highly jet-lagged, I decided not to miss the buttering outing, and joined Rohit Girotra and the buttering gang at Adigas; after breakfast, we went to the Reserve Forest. Here are some of the interesting things I captured on camera:

Plain Tiger caterpillars:

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Plain Tiger:

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Common Grass Yellow:

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Blue:

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Lemon Emigrant:

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Common Cerulean

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Blue Tiger:

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Chocolate Pansy on Silver Oak flower:

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Common Pierrot:

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Common Leopard:

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Sunbeam and Spider:

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This regnant Praying Mantis would soon be laying her eggs:

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Here,for comparision is a non-pregnant Mantis:

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Leaf-footed Bug:

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Wingless grasshopper:

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Unknown insect:

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Plant hopper:

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Bug and Praying Mantis:

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Spider with prey:

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Millipedes on fecal material. Droppings, dung, or scat (or call it shit) is a nutrient in Nature, and never wasted!

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And here are the mammals…

In the fastest-growing grass:

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In the nursery area:

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Photographing the Skipper:

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We are all prone to photography:

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On the buttering trail:

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I liked the lovely colours of the “4 o’clock flower”, called, in Tamizh,”anthi manthArai” (Mirabilis jalapa)

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Priya pointed out a puffball Mushroom:

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Termite nests, extend to quite a depth below the ground as well as quite a height above it…and the temperature remains regulated throughout, in all seasons. Here, one can see the wall perforations for temperature control:

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I was very tired within a short span of time, and Madhu kindly dropped me back to the bus stop. I came home and fell into a deep sleep, but I enjoyed my morning very much!

The fires of fall

October 12, 2014

Fall is a time when red seems to appear everywhere, amongst the green.

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Leaves turn into rubies:

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The brown tree-trunks are studded with gems:

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It seems as if the fires are warming the trees one last time, before the cold, and the monochromes of winter, set in.

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Truly, the fires of fall could be called the flames of the forest.

Scrap of life, 160914

September 26, 2014

It’s amazing to see what tiny scraps of feathers have song, and life, in them. Sitting on a twig, with his ratty little tail,this little bird still called loud enough to get my ear.

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I clicked him, and got a few more “Cheep” thrills, before he flew off into the wide world of Nature, where he belongs.

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Song Sparrow, Forest Park, 160914.

A light breakfast, Forest Park, 140914

September 15, 2014

After I caught sight of the Osprey fishing in the Grand Basin in Forest Park, my friend Danny Brown pinged me, and we arranged to go to Forest Park again on Sunday to try our luck.

As he went to park the car near the Visitors Center, I caught sight of this

COOPER’S HAWK

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An unfortunate bird had become prey to the talons and beak of this raptor, and was being polished off on top of a light fixture!

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology says, Cooper’s Hawk, Accipiter cooperii, is “A medium-sized hawk with the classic accipiter shape: broad, rounded wings and a very long tail. In Cooper’s Hawks, the head often appears large, the shoulders broad, and the tail rounded.”

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From the yellow eye, it was apparent that this was a sub-adult.

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This bird was named after the naturalist William Cooper, one of the founders of the New York Lyceum of Natural History.

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Their breeding range extends from southern Canada to northern Mexico.

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The sun was coming up behind the bird, and I experimented with taking the shots against it:

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The wiki says, “These birds capture prey from cover or while flying quickly through dense vegetation, relying almost totally on surprise. One study showed that this is a quite dangerous hunting style.” They even prey on other raptors if they can, or small mammals.

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During their flight displays the male will begin by diving toward the female. A slow speed-chase follows involving the male flying around the female exposing his expanded under tail coverts to her. The male raises his wings high above the back and flies in a wide arc with slow, rhythmic flapping. Courting usually occurs on bright, sunny days, in midmorning…not at all surprising weather for romance!

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Over a two-week period the pair builds the nest, and the female incubates the eggs between 30 to 36 days.

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Cooper’s hawks have been known to live as long as 12 years in the wild, and rarely fall prey to other raptors like Red-tailed Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Peregrine Falcons, Golden Eagles, and Northern Goshawks.

The Cooper’s hawk, as a natural predator of almost any North American bird smaller than itself, can inadvertently deplete populations of rarer, conservation-dependent species. The American kestrel, whose populations have experienced considerable decrease, is one species in which the extensive predation by the recovered Cooper’s hawk population is a major concern. So this is one instance where conservation has had another side to it!

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We left this fascinating bird of prey to the remnants of its meal, and went on our way.

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Birding in Forest Park, 130914

September 14, 2014

I started in Kennedy Forest:

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Here’s where I was:

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Here’s the video of the Osprey:

and that of the adult Red-headed Woodpecker feeding its young one!