Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 2, 2013

One Less Thrasher

Filed under: backyard, behavior, Birds — richditch @ 4:24 pm
Cooper's Hawk with Curve-billed Thrasher

Cooper’s Hawk with Curve-billed Thrasher

Nikon D300, 300/2.8 AF-S Nikkor, ISO 800, 1/400th second at f/6.3, hand held and cropped 50%

Curve-billed Thrashers have been a staple of our backyard since we moved to AZ in 1994. Compared to the Brown Thrasher that we were familiar with in NJ, the Curve-billed Thrasher is a lot easier to see. Unfortunately for the thrasher, being easier to see isn’t always an advantage.

In all but the warmest months here our yard attracts occasional Sharp-shinned Hawks, and more often, Cooper’s Hawks like the immature in this photo. The usual victim is a Mourning Dove, of which we have an abundance. The doves feed mostly in the open yard, with another group feeding on seed scattered on the patio. The thrashers feed the patio almost all the time.

When a Cooper’s Hawk makes a pass the doves scatter in flight and the hawk usually follows one. The thrashers run on the ground for cover, which in the past has always kept them safe from the accipiters. On November 30 this strategy didn’t work for this thrasher, and the Cooper’s Hawk decided to grab it instead of chasing doves.

The remaining Curve-billed Thrasher is still visiting the patio, but is more shy. Probably a good thing, too, as we just had a visit from an adult accipiter (either a small male Cooper’s or a larger male Sharpie – it didn’t sit long enough for me to decide which it was).


1 Comment »

  1. Great shot, particularly the look on the hawk’s face.

    Comment by Sue — December 2, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

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