[Bristol-Birds] Crepuscular Accipiter activity in Bristol

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 12:11:22 -0500

Last evening just after sunset when the lights of city streets make it appear 
nearly dark,  I observed a large bird flashing under the street lights along 
Sixth Street near State Street in downtown Bristol Tennessee.  It flew to the 
top of the Central Building on Sixth St. There it perched for several minutes 
on the edge of the roof before bounding into darkness and flying over the tops 
of buildings.  It was not at all concerned by people walking a couple of 
stories below it on the sidewalk.  Nor did it pay any particular attention to 
noisy traffic.  Finding Accipiters out hunting at day break and nightfall is 
common.  

It was a Cooper's Hawk.  I pulled into a nearby parking lot and got my 
binoculars on it with a decent study for sevral minutes under the glow of the 
lights. 

Crepuscular is a term used to describe animals that are primarily active during 
the twilight.  While Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks are out and about at all 
daylight hours,  they are fond of low light hunting conditions and savor the 
fading light to their advantage.

I didn't decided to post this until this morning when an apparent immature 
Cooper's Hawk dashed across the hood of my car on Weaver Pike near the Stone 
Castle football stadium.  It cleared the hood and my window
by maybe two feet or so.  It came from the back left of my car, appearing to 
pass my driver side window and
cut across the front of the vehicle.  As it flew beyond the right front panel 
of my vehicle it dropped low along
a bank attempting a strike in a shrub of a yard.  Since it was flying in the 
same direction I was traveling,
I finally got a good look at it and could see the field marks as it stooped 
forward towards the shrub.

Urban raptors fascinate me.  Especially when they are hunting and dashing in 
traffic and unexpected locations and unexpected time.  I will never forget one 
night about 9 p.m. when I saw a Red-tailed Hawk trucking through
the Belmont Bowling Alley parking lot on Weaver Pike and flying just above the 
light poles.  Always wondered
what had that bird moving.  Where was it going ?  Where had it been ?

Let's go birding.......

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN

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