Cooper’s Hawk Returns

Two days after publishing Kitchen Window Raptor, it was my turn at the kitchen window when the Cooper’s hawk returned.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 263 mm, efov 538 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, cropped to 4223 pixels on the width, subject distance 9.8 metres, Bird Detection AI

After my wife had success capturing some reasonably close-up images of a raptor from our kitchen window, I decided to leave my E-M1X fitted with my M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 mm IS on the kitchen counter ‘at the ready’. Just in case Mother Nature might smile down upon me.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-5000, full frame capture, subject distance 9.7 metres, Bird Detection AI

Two days later… by sheer luck… I caught a glimpse of a good sized bird landing on our fence. Low and behold our Cooper’s hawk had returned! I grabbed my camera and quickly fired off a few frames through the kitchen window.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 218 mm, efov 436 mm, f/6.3 1/2000, ISO-6400, cropped to 3885 pixels on the width, subject distance 15.9 metres, Bird Detection AI

The Cooper’s hawk wasn’t perched very long before it noticed something further along our fence line. It moved down to investigate.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 218 mm, efov 436 mm, f/6.3 1/2000, ISO-6400, cropped to 3922 pixels on the width, subject distance 16 metres, Bird Detection AI

The raptor was watching something intensely and at one point took a slow, measured step. The intensity of its gaze and the very deliberate nature of its movement indicated to me that something interesting may be about to happen. I quickly changed my camera’s mode setting from C4 to C3. This allowed me to quickly go from my standard Bird Detection AI camera settings to Pro Capture H.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 285 mm, efov 570 mm, f/6.3 1/2000, ISO-6400, cropped to 4222 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.3 metres, Pro Capture H

I quickly focused on the shoulder of the Cooper’s hawk as it lowered its head and leaned forward. Then began capturing Pro Capture H frames in the temporary memory of my E-M1X.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 285 mm, efov 570 mm, f/6.3 1/2000, ISO-6400, cropped to 4588 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.3 metres, Pro Capture H

Suddenly the Cooper’s hawk leaned way forward, looking down at something next to my fence.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 285 mm, efov 570 mm, f/6.3 1/2000, ISO-6400, cropped to 4588 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.3 metres, Pro Capture H

Then it dropped straight down behind a stand of dried, ornamental grass and disappeared from sight. I captured my Pro Capture H image run, then quickly changed my camera mode back to C4 and waited to see what would happen next.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 218 mm, efov 436 mm, f/6.3 1/1600, ISO-2500, cropped to 4154 pixels on the width, subject distance 26.7 metres, Bird Detection AI

After a minute or so, It fluttered up to the top of my fence, then sauntered down the top rail towards the end of my backyard. The Cooper’s hawk’s hunting attempt had obviously failed as it had no bird or other animal in its beak.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS @ 400 mm, efov 800 mm, f/6.3 1/1600, ISO-2500, cropped to 4014 pixels on the width, subject distance 29.1 metres, Bird Detection AI

It perched at the back of my yard for a few minutes, then flew off,  likely in search of its next meal. I was thrilled to capture some close-up photographs of the Cooper’s hawk, and observe hunting behaviour I had not witnessed before. Thank you Mother Nature!

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear and technology as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted as appropriate.

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4 thoughts on “Cooper’s Hawk Returns”

  1. Hi, Thomas. Found your Blog by coincidence. But I am very glad, I did.
    No. 2 is my favorite, like a set card, it captures the beauty and powerfulness of this elegant creature . Thank you for your work and your thoughts about it. Greetz from Germany, Claudia

  2. Love the second-last photo, even if it’s not perfectly sharp. You can almost hear the hawk grumbling and muttering to itself about the mouse that got away!

    1. Hi Joost… I’m glad you enjoyed the image!

      I wouldn’t normally photograph a bird that was moving away from me, but in the case of the Cooper’s hawk it looked so dejected as it sauntered along the top rail of my fence I couldn’t resist capturing a few images.

      I was expecting the hawk to take flight and had my camera ready for this eventuality, and was using my Bird Detection AI custom setting mode. When it decided to walk along the top rail my E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI grabbed focus on the tail of the bird as its head/eye wasn’t large enough for the technology to recognize it… so it focused on the bird’s body instead. I can’t really fault Bird Detection AI… as this was the only image in my short run where the head/eye of the hawk was even remotely visible.

      Tom

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