It was February 18th 2014 the snow had just stopped falling and there was a promise of more on the way when I saw something dark flash by out of the corner of my eye. I was making my bed and getting some much-needed laundry done, but decided to go take a look at what dark had fallen to the ground or landed in my neighbor’s backyard. There was no noise like the birds make normally, so I thought that it was an inanimate object like some loosened debris falling from the roof, or that was dropped by the wind. As you can see the snow in the backyards gets quite deep in Montreal and so getting a good close up shot without using the zoom on my camera was going to be next to impossible. There was a fence between us but thanks to the high hard snow I did managed to get a few okay shots that proved what I thought was peregrine falcon and now know is a Cooper’s Hawk, was not a figment of my imagination. By the time I got outside my hawk was already on the ground and had plucked the bird of its feathers; there were feathers everywhere. The falcon at some point looked like he was digging a nest using his beak as a shovel as its head went deeper and deeper into a hole in the snow. The hole was being created by the warm body and the blood of the dead bird sinking deeper into the snow and the falcon going in to get it. There was no chance to get into the neighbor’s yard, because his steps were full of snow and his gate was blocked shut with hard compacted snow, so I just had to be satisfied snapping through and over the fence and hoping for the best. At one point realising that I was watching, or sensing the cats that often frequent my neighbor’s backyard the falcon began to swell up, fan its tail protectively, posturing to shield its prey and make itself look more intimidating than it already looked.
I had hoped to see this bird fly away when it was done with its meal, but by the time I had got back into the house and looked back out the window the hawk was gone. As I said before it was snowing and so not only was the falcon gone, but all traces of the feathers nor anything else that would show what had just transpired was covered with snow; not one feather was left exposed. I have taken pictures of raccoons in the fruit trees, last summer the 2 fledgling peregrine grounded by a rain storm and so far this winter the Snowy Owl that was forced down by some black birds and last but not least an Cooper’s Hawk eating its dinner and it all has taken place in the backyards of my neighbors and my house. I can’t wait to see what drops in for a visit next.
Special note: “briguybc” commented on this post these words, “FYI I think you actually had a Cooper’s Hawk there, not a falcon.” To which I responded, “Thank you for your comment I will definitely do a comparison check, but I always welcome corrections and suggestions as I am no pro and have never studied bird identification. I know that they have released breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons in Montreal. Have a great day and thanks again. By the way what makes you say that it is a Cooper’s Hawk? Knowing that would help me and others so much and prevent us from making the same mistake with our identification.. I have not heard back from ”briguybc” so I did do a comparison check and in fact it could be a Cooper’s Hawk. It size tail and markings would lead me to believe that the commenter was write and I was wrong. I would like to thank the commenter for bringing my error to my attention and to encourage all who read my post to do the same, but please it would be so helpful if you would add to your comment the reasons for your identification. Thanking you in advance. This story has since been altered to reflect the right name of the bird.