Friday, June 22, 2012

Unusual Cooper's Hawk Behavior

I came across an interesting post by a subscriber on the BIRDCHAT Listserv that spoke of an observation he made of a Cooper’s hawk that had captured a Ring-billed gull and then drowned it by holding it underwater. I’ve read about lots of different bird behavior, but this one came as a surprise. I've seen the outcome of shrike impalement, birds pummeling their quarry against a hard surface, hawks utilizing their tomial tooth to severe spines, but this is the first time I've come across "drowning" as a bird's methodology of dispatching prey. Incidentally, why didn’t the hawk use its tomial tooth instead? I found this rather interesting and decided to look into it further and found that this isn’t the first time this behavior had been observed and documented. Check out the videos I found of a hawk drowning a magpie and one drowning a pigeon in a swimming pool.

Suggested Reading:

1) "Death By Drowning: One Cooper’s Hawk Approach"

2) "Cooper’s Hawk “Drowning” Its Prey"

3) "Unusual Behavior of a Cooper's Hawk"

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