A Hawk in the Hood; Pigeons Beware

by Borderstan.com April 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm 1,665 6 Comments

Cooper's Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Borderstan, Logan Circle

This hawk, or one of his friends, has been spotted several times recently in the vicinity of 15th and Q Streets NW.

From Matty Rhoades

It was a quiet Saturday morning at home. The window shades were up with the back garden in full view. I have some transitional spring flowers in hanging baskets and my summer red geraniums are already in the boxes on the fence. It’s a nice view.

Suddenly my spouse said, “Something horrible is happening back there!”

“What!?” says me. I went to the window, thinking there was probably a dead rat on the patio. Instead, I saw a grayish-brown hawk dining on a dead pigeon — the small downy feathers of the unfortunate bird scattered on the bricks.

Hawks, which are raptors, are sometimes spotted in urban areas. Mice, rats, pigeons and small birds are all good meals for them.

A quick search of Google images and Wikipedia left me convinced that our visitor was a Red-shouldered Hawk. It shouldn’t be confused with the Red-tailed Hawk, which has also been seen in the Dupont area. One of the contributors to the Borderstan Flickr pool, ok-oyot, contributed a photo of a Red-tailed in Dupont Circle in February (he or she had also just hunted down a pigeon).

After posting the story and pic on Facebook — and numerous comments later — one friend chimed in: “I’m pretty sure its a Cooper’s Hawk. I took a few photos of similar carnage to a pigeon in the alley at 15th and Q Streets.”

A neighbor also told us that she has seen a hawk in the area that sounds like the same one. After this morning’s edition of Borderstan Animal Kingdom, I remembered that I had seen a hawk swooping around our block about a week ago. The same one?

Have you seen this hawk in the area? Let us know — we will be on the lookout.

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