Cooper's Hawk at Work

I had the good fortune to witness nature (in the form of a Cooper's hawk) at work in my backyard last week, and I wanted to share it.

I was working in my back room and heard a sustained blue jay ruckus. It finally dawned on me that something was going on, and I turned my attention out the window to see a juvenile Cooper's hawk on the lowest branch of my big old pecan tree. I went for my binoculars and saw a house sparrow under the Cooper's right foot. The hawk was ducking and twisting and turning his head and scrunching his shoulders in an effort to avoid the blue jay mob that was giving him holy hell. I watched for five full minutes as the hawk was unable to tend to his meal in the blue jay barrage.

I then saw something I'd never seen before. Spoiler alert and a warning to sensitive readers! The hawk began balling up the sparrow very methodically in its right foot. Once the sparrow was completely tucked up inside the right foot, the hawk flew off to eat in peace.

Ick and cool!