A Hawk at the Bird Bath

Judy was working from home the other day, sitting on our back porch. At one point she looked up from her laptop and saw this right outside the window.


We’ve seen hawks in the back garden before, but never at the bird bath. This is the heated bird bath we put out during the winter. And yes, I can see it desperately needs changing. I’ve been out of town, OK?

I’m very bad at distinguishing different species of hawks. I’m guessing this is either a Red-Tailed Hawk or a Cooper’s Hawk.Whoever it is, the streaks of brown on the white chest look really dashing.

Some people don’t like having raptors around their feeders, but I feel that they are just part of the package if you are attracting a lot of birds. Plus, they are beautiful and dramatic creatures.

If only hawks could be directed to eating only certain other birds. I’ve thought of putting up a sign: TWO HOUSE SPARROWS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE.

Do you see Hawks much or at all in your garden?

67 Comments on “A Hawk at the Bird Bath

  1. I live close to the Napa River and see hawks in the air often , we also get merlins . I’ve never had a hawk land in my garden but merlins will come into the trees occasionally . I love seeing them !

  2. We have lots of Cooper’s hawks here. I posted a photo of one with a rodent in its talons along with the young one it was feeding a few years ago. I love seeing them especially when they’re catching rodents.

  3. It looks like a Cooper’s Hawk. My yard attracts one just like it every winter because I feed the birds – and a few squirrels who live in the tulip tree. While I recognize that hawks need to eat too and I don’t begrudge them that, I still don’t want to lose a bird a day so I’ve been rearranging the feeders to give the little birds more cover. Even sparrows 🙂

  4. Lovely hawk. We have them (don’t know what kind) nesting in our neighborhood. They are awesome. When I had a mason at my house, one perched on the fence for a very short time. The mason and his helpers went crazy taking photos. Just wish the hawks around here would catch more of rodents!

  5. I think Paul would agree totally with the sparrow trade off. Hawks are amazing birds to look at…. are they common in your area? (although we get lots of wild birds, the hawks never come down to the city)

  6. Wonderful photo. Yes, we have birds of prey landing in the garden, I’m afraid it comes with the territory when you have bird feeders. We have had buzzards landing, not very often and sparrow hawks zoom round the house, landing on the bird table looking puzzled when they are unsuccessful hunting.

  7. Cooper’s Hawk.. How wonderful to be able to see it up close !! Love the idea of your sign too, can we add starlings to it?! Lol! I live in the city but we have a river running parallel to us and last summer I saw a Bald Eagle dive into the river while stuck in traffic on a bridge!! It made my week 😊👍

    • We have a bit of a river (ok, a landscaped sanitary canal) about three quarters mile away. There are herons, but I don’t think there are eagles. We do get the (very) occasional coyote. I’d love to see a bald eagle!

  8. They do fly over our garden a lot, but I have never seen one actually in the garden or near our bird bath, thank goodness. I love the sound they make when they call to each other or warn off other birds of prey.

    • We’ve seen them in the yard once a month or so, but this was really close up. I took a photo from eight feet with my phone, then slowly moved in for this one, from about four feet (thru the window). Then the hawk flew away. I was actually on a work call with someone I didn’t know well – luckily using my earphones, so I was free to also use the camera. The person on the phone didn’t even know.

  9. There is a Cooper’s Hawk or two that cruise the bird feeders during winter here. One year they nested across the street. That was a treat. They are just trying to make a living. I agree about the house sparrows. UGH.

  10. We see hawks close by but not on the garden. Owls often sit on our roof and we hear them during the night. I agree with you we should be pleased to see any bird that is happy to come into our gardens including sparrows.

    • I understand we have owls, but I’ve never seen one. Hmm, what would Jason use at the bird feeders to attract them? I don’t think I want to know. And I’d need a camera that could take night photos…

  11. We see and hear lots of hawks. A Cooper’s Hawk does visit our bird feeders, and while sad to see it attacking a small bird, I just find myself saying over and over that everybody has to eat. All creatures are welcome here; well, the deer, not so much. The
    are beautiful creatures to watch soaring over fields. I have had them (not sure what species) land on our back porch railing and sit for a while.

    • We’ve not had hawks on the back porch railing but they have perched on our back fence against the alley and once on a patio chair!

  12. Because we’re out in the country, we have had hawks flying through –once even diving in for a chipmunk. Most recently, though, an American kestrel land on one of our large feeders while I happened to be looking out the window –it was so amazing to see the smaller birds scatter! And I’ve read the kestrels are common, but that was the first one I’ve seen, and it was beautiful 🙂

  13. Very cool! I caught a red-tailed hawk drinking at our pond one time. I see hawks everyday. We have red-tailed and red-shouldered that live around our property so they are feeding from our garden or flying overhead regularly. I think they’re amazing birds and help keep the songbird populations healthy and chipmunk populations under control. I just wish they would eat more voles.

  14. Great photo, Judy! We have red-tailed hawks in our woods; I’ve often seen them chase squirrels around trees, although they rarely catch them. They are big – around 2′ tall, with beautiful feather markings that help them blend into the trees. After we closed on our house, we immediately drove to our new home and parked in the driveway. When we got out of the car, a red-tailed hawk circled above us three times and dropped a feather at our feet. The feather is still tacked up above our front door, a symbol of what we took as a “welcome home” gift 🙂

    • What a great story & wonderful welcome! Just a heads up in case you didn’t know, where I live in NH it’s illegal to own or posses any feathers or bird parts from Owls or Raptors. Native Americans are an exception.. Big Fines $$ Maybe keep it hidden or put away with strangers.

      • Good to know. We haven’t collected any feathers, deliberately or otherwise. I guess that’s a good thing.

  15. Last time I saw a Cooper’s hawk in my garden, it was perched on my pet pigeon that I left locked up in it’s cage. Interesting conversation followed with my roommate who is a PETA sympathizer.

      • Hawk was in an aviary that was in final stages of construction. Panels of chain link were laid over a framework. I left my pigeons in their cage until that panels could be secured. My room mater figured correctly that the pigeons would choose to stay in their new home. A hawk came in between a gap between the panels. Smart hawk. It knew that unsecured panels would give to allow it to pass through.

  16. I have never had a hawk in my garden let alone the bath! Great capture.
    We have Red kites in this area of the Chilterns and they will come into the garden for food but I draw the line at dead mice on the bird table.

  17. You may want to see again http://wp.me/p4ip7v-13S. I captured a video of a red shouldered hawk in the garden last year, and it returned several times over a few week period. Most unusual. I see hawks in the air regularly but not landed in my garden. You captured a rare moment.

  18. What a wonderful sight. I used to have sparrow hawks nesting in the garden and is was heartbreaking watching them take all the birds birds.

    • For me, I guess, it depends on the birds they take. Anyway, raptors help keep the bird population healthy, and they are beautiful themselves.

  19. LOL!!!! I can so relate to this!!! The other day I looked out and saw a Cooper hawk eating one right in my garden. It was tearing the meat off the bones as I observed from a distance inside the house. It was so astonishing at first. I wanted to run out and rescue the bird, but it gave me pause. I stood there and thought..this is the circle of life….it keeps itself in balance (nature) by this sort of behavior. I went outside after and noticed the feathers strewn around. I could not tell exactly what type of bird it was, but it was a larger one than a sparrow. They are beautiful birds too:-)

  20. We see them only in the air here but when we lived in town there was a visiting Peregrine Falcon. That was a thrill.

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