Bird Roll Call: January 7, 2018

  • American crow
  • American goldfinch
  • American tree sparrow
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Blue jay
  • Carolina wren
  • Cooper’s hawk
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Downy woodpecker
  • Eastern bluebird
  • European starling
  • House finch
  • House sparrow
  • Mallard
  • Mourning dove
  • Northern cardinal
  • Northern flicker
  • Red-bellied woodpecker
  • Red-tailed hawk
  • Rock pigeon
  • Song sparrow
  • White-breasted nuthatch
  • White-throated sparrow
  • Yellow-rumped warbler

The Cooper’s hawk landed on my neighbor’s fence without fanfare just before 10 a.m. She was larger than when I first saw her last November. She had an angular head shaped like a rectilinear helmet, as if a sculptor began carving the head from marble but gave up before refining the head’s contours.

She looked like a Cooper’s hawk in all respects, especially when two squirrels approached hoping to use the fence railing to make their way back home. (The railing is their highway, or at least their main local road.) Displeased, she spread her wings in protest and revealed a large, fan-shaped tail with the classic Cooper’s hawk curve. She also had a bulky body shaped not unlike a wine bladder, which took on a comical effect as she leapt a few inches into the air with the grace of an undisciplined ballet dancer before returning to the railing.

After protesting several times, the hawk dropped over the other side of the fence like a lead fishing weight being thrown into a lake. The squirrels were able to resume their use of the railing.

Locations — in my backyard, at Shawnee Mission Park, and while driving to and from these locations.