Bird Roll Call: November 8, 2017

  • Cooper’s hawk (juvenile, perched on fence)*
  • Great horned owl (two calling across the yard in the evening)

When I came home, I heard the piercing alarm cry of a first-year Cooper’s hawk. I looked up to see a blue jay tumbling out of my neighbor’s tree. I wondered what was going on. I went inside and got my binoculars to see who might be hiding in the tree. I didn’t see anything, so I went inside and started working in the kitchen. Through the window above the sink, I saw a small hawk perched on the fence. It was a very young female Cooper’s hawk. Either the blue jay attacked her, and she cried out in response, or the blue jay imitated her cry in order to warn others of the threat. I suspect it was the former, but blue jays have certainly been known to imitate the calls of other species. I don’t know if they are capable of determining a hawk’s age and choosing the appropriate call for that age. That would be impressive. But heck. Blue jays built our oak forests. They’re capable of much more than we give them credit for.

Location — in my backyard. A single asterisk indicates first sighting. This is not a complete list of the birds I saw. At this time, I was only recording notable birds.