Cooper's Hawks - their effect on landlords' blood pressure

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Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

This has been (at least in my immediate area) a season starting with hard, and heavy Cooper's Hawk pressure.
There was one a few evenings back, that was actually waiting for my Martins to return for the evening.
Once they landed, it would charge the house, trying to grab one.
I don't think it was successful.
For the next few evenings, I would stand in the yard near the Martin house, with a large, white T-shirt in hand, waiting to jump up and down, and wave frantically, in the event it made another evening raid.
So far, no more evening raids, however I did just have to chase one off, that landed on my fence - no doubt looking for a Martin snack.
Predatory attacks are extremely stressful on both the Martins, and their landlords, no matther the size of the colony.
However, for folks like me, that have what I call a "micro-colony" (less than 10 pairs), is doesn't take much to completely lose your colony altogether.
Just one or two successful raids, and one can find themselves having to totally start over.
As of right now (according to the Cornell map), Cooper's Hawks don't nest here along the southeast Texas coast, so only early season migrants, are what we have to deal with.
Given how adaptive, and successful these raptors are, I'm sure they'll continue to expand their range, and become permanent residents here before long..... :roll:
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Matt,

Have you tried using a boat horn? (can of compressed air with a 'honker' on top, you press and it lets out a LOUD sound that startles & distracts hawk). Some landlords find those helpful. We've used them, but mostly use a long bamboo pole with some of that surveyor's tape at end - two long ribbons of it. Wave that and yell, see what your neighbors think :wink: But that's our method, until the wintering and migrating Cooper's and sharpies have moved on. And decoys help.

Cooper's nest in San Antonio, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few in your area during breeding season too. I know of ONE nesting pair in Corpus Christi, old nest was pointed out by birders last spring, and after that I found current nest, both are in a large cemetery with loads of trees. About mid April, our site becomes hawk free (except for redtails, which are not a problem anyway). I hope hawk pressure at your site eases sooner than later -
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Great ideas Louise!
I really like the bamboo pole with the surveyor's tape idea.
I love the word you used - "honker" :lol:
James Rieman
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 7:57 am
Location: Houston/Texas

Hey Matt, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Coopers Hawks DO nest here. Two houses down my neighbor has a large pine tree with a Coopers Hawk nest in it. For the past three years it has fledged 3-4 young, well fed on martins from my neighbors colonies and my own. I had several nests where one parent was lost last season and saw several attacks, most in the air as martins were approaching or leaving the house. Last yewar was particularly bad because the martins got a late start to nesting due to the cool spring weather and that put their fledge dates around the same time as the Coopers Hawks when their food demands were highest. The martins still fledged young and this year I have large numbers that have returned. I think the Coopers hawks will cut down on my bird's success rate, but so far in spite of their depredations my colony survives and grows. The fledgling Coopers Hawks are surprisingly tame, curious and playful and will follow people around the neighborhood as they walk their dogs, perching on fences and house tops. Being able to see them up close and observe their antics ALMOST makes their parent's depredations worth while. I may feel differently after this season depending on how things go however. :-/
James Rieman
Houston Texas
PMCA member
2011 - 3 SY pair
2012 - 7 pair
2013 - 10 pair
2014 - 12 pair
2015 - 16 pair
2016 - 17 pair
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Matt, I used it just for you :lol: Birds see colors well - we used a dayglo pink tape.
Last edited by Louise Chambers on Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
DAVE
Posts: 288
Joined: Mon May 05, 2008 10:03 am
Location: Winchester, VA

I have a pair here ( not sure what kind) They do winter here. What I do is use an old Blue Streak air riffle with no Pellets and just pull the trigger and they fly away. All the attacks are when the Martins are in flight. :x So far I think I only lost one Martin.
Dave
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

James Rieman wrote:Hey Matt, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Coopers Hawks DO nest here.
That's good to know James.
Looks like I need to keep the white t-shirts, and bamboo pole with surveyor tape, on alert standby, for a while longer..... :shock:
kehunter
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:42 am
Location: TX/Pearland

Today I heard a huge commotion, and moments later saw about a half-dozed martins (along couple of barn swallows) hot on the tail of a hawk, driving him out of the neighborhood.

The frustrated hawk cut an arc up to the ridge of a neighbor's roof, thinking he might catch a moment's rest. Instead, a martin or two "dive-bombed" him within about a foot, screaming at him. The hawk bugged out. I expect he'll be back, and I'll keep my eyes open.....but he knows this colony is not gonna cut him any slack.

Kevin
2016 - 6 cavities in Royal Wing/S&K house + 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches on pole 1, 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches on pole 2
2015 - new homebuilt 3 cavity house plus 3 BO9 gourds with tunnels porches on second pole, in addition to prior setup. 15 pairs, 54 fledged
2014 - 6 6x12 house cavities (plastic Royal Wing/S&K), plus 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches offered; 12 pairs, 50 fledged
Don Troha
Posts: 350
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 2:14 pm
Location: Texas/Houston

Coopers, Red-tailed, and Red-shouldered hawks are all hanging around here. Feeders attract white-wings doves & I think that's what they're after. Also a retention pond 2 blocks away where they might be hunting. Martins chased one away the first day of their arrival. Last week crows ganged up on one and chased it out of the neighborhood. Next day blue jays chased one away. (West side of Houston at Harris/Ft Bend county line).
2019 - 14 pair, 61 fledged
2018 - 15 pair, 63 fledged
2017 - 11 pair, 46 fledged
2016 - 5 pair, 22 fledged
2015 - 3 pair, 13 fledged
2014 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2013 - 3 pair, 12 fledged
2012 - 2 pair, 8 fledged
2011 - 1 pair, 2 fledged
Dennis D
Posts: 396
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 9:49 am
Location: Illinois/Swansea

kehunter wrote:Today I heard a huge commotion, and moments later saw about a half-dozed martins (along couple of barn swallows) hot on the tail of a hawk, driving him out of the neighborhood.

The frustrated hawk cut an arc up to the ridge of a neighbor's roof, thinking he might catch a moment's rest. Instead, a martin or two "dive-bombed" him within about a foot, screaming at him. The hawk bugged out. I expect he'll be back, and I'll keep my eyes open.....but he knows this colony is not gonna cut him any slack.

Kevin
But be advised, the hawk won't cut the colony any slack either.
Dennis D
Gobbler T
Posts: 1518
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:13 am
Location: Mississippi / Columbus

Martin must taste very good. The hawk that tried to get mine this morning, completely ignores the hoards of other birds in the yard including all the doves, & I have lots!
Tony


2007 --- 0 2011---0 2015---4
2008 --- 0 2012---0 16-19—0
2009 --- 0 2013---1 2020—?
2010 --- 0 2014---3
Steve Martin
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:38 am
Location: Tx/Bastrop

James Rieman wrote:Hey Matt, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Coopers Hawks DO nest here. Two houses down my neighbor has a large pine tree with a Coopers Hawk nest in it. For the past three years it has fledged 3-4 young, well fed on martins from my neighbors colonies and my own.
Humm, If someone in the neighborhood is catching S & S in a repeater trap, clipping and releasing starlings and HOSP in the vicinity around the hawk's nest might be a good thing. Hawks especially young and inexperienced hawks will always go after a bird that appears injured.

Think of it this way, for every starling or HOSP that the hawk munches on, there will be less native bird that has to die in order to keep the hawk feed. Of course that may result in more hawks being fledged, which could result in more hawks chasing your PMs. Humm, wildlife management is not a simple thing.
klcretired
Posts: 2174
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2003 3:06 am
Location: Grand Prairie,Tx

Hi Matt,
I also use the Boat Horn , purchased at Bass Pro shop or Cabelas and along with my Many Decoys I also use Dove Decoys (The MoJo) is the one w/ Flapping Wings, these help a lot, The Doves I Mount in adjecant tree's, hope this helps you



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Pictures Taken with Canon Rebel XT Digital using a Sigma 50-500 Long Lens.

Wishing everyone a Great Martin Year
Happy Martining for 2020 to everyone,

K.C.

klcretired@tx.rr.com
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

Very helpful Kenny!
Thanks for posting those!
I had thought about dove decoys, but that one you have that flaps - that is awesome!
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