Backyard Birds – Raptors Around Town

Backyard Birds - Raptors Around Town

Hugh Kingery has received several reports on raptors around the metro area.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

According to Curt Frankenfeld in Larkspur:

“I was working on my computer June 8 and a feather floated by my window. Then another. And another. I knew that I had a raptor in a tree having lunch.

I grabbed the camera and went out on the front deck. I got these shots of a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Looks like he nabbed a Pine Siskin because I’m seeing traces of yellow on a couple of feathers. That said, the lunch spot is about 25 feet away from a Pygmy Nuthatch nest on the underside of a tree limb.”

In Parker, Scott Sorenson writes:

“I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk. I typically see it a few times a year. One day last summer, it sat in the aspen just outside my window (less than 10 feet away) for hours waiting for birds to come to the feeders nearby. It was a real treat to be so close to a large bird for so long. It was days before the birds returned to the feeders.”

Swainson's Hawks

Dick Anderson, in University Park, emailed:

“A bit after noon yesterday (May 31) I watched as a Swainson’s Hawk flew over the row of spruce trees two house north of us and land in the top of one. The hawk would call out a couple of times every little bit. About five minutes after she had settled in the tree, a male flew into the opposite of side of the treetop. After a few minutes, he joined her, and they copulated. After a short bit, they settled side-by-side before he flew off.

“About 4:30 this afternoon our kids and grand-kids came over for some rhubarb pie. As we settled on the deck in our back yard, I glanced up at the spruce tree where the hawks had been the day before, and there was a hawk in the very same location as the female had been. She was still there when I brought the scope in 3 hours later.

“It seems probable to me the pair has a nest not too far away from where the hawk was sitting yesterday and today.

“I am pretty sure the nest is in this tree or a neighboring one, but it is so dense that I cannot find it. Really great to know we have them in the neighborhood, both squirrels and rabbits are in need of thinning since a developer built McMansions on the north half of the block.”

Your contributions write this column. Thanks to all who send in these intriguing reports. Send a note or post card to P.O. Box 584, Franktown 80116, or Email Hugh Kingery at