Dunn Woods Memories

Dunn Woods, Natural Heart of IU

August 12, 2008
by mitch
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Cooper’s Hawks move out of Dunn Woods

The Cooper’s Hawks are long gone from Dunn Woods, I’ve neither seen nor heard them for over a week. The fledglings, at least 3 of them, maybe more, were there, loud and hungry, during the last week of July, but have been gone since the first of August. They would fly back and forth through the trees yelling for food and waiting for the a parents to show up with the latest catch. The juveniles were easy to spot, not only did they call as they flew, but the distinctive white band of feathers at the end of the tail was easy to see as they flew and when sitting on a branch. I think the parents could not keep up at the end, there was quite a ruckus when they showed up with food, and I think they either led the kids out into the wider world, or just stopped showing up with food, but as they all disappeared at once, I get the feeling they could have left together.

Coopers Hawks in Dunn Woods

A couple of weeks ago I saw one of the parents fly in to the squalling crew and land on a high branch with something in its claws. As the fledglings flew closer, the parent released the prey, but none of the kids flew to catch it as it dropped. I assumed this was their way of teaching the kids how to hunt on the fly, which is what they do best.

During that last week they were especially noisy, and I could hear 3, maybe 4 fledglings calling at once, and my guess is that the parent were coming less frequently, till eventually all the kids got the message and headed out on their own, or followed their parents out of the Dunn’s Woods nursery into the wider world spurred by hunger.