It has now been more than three weeks since incubation started and the hawk's routine remains the same. The female (Emma for Immature) does all of the incubating and the male (Ace as in fighter pilot ace) delivers food to an area about 100 feet east of the nest. He announces his arrival with a single "kek" call to which Emma responds by leaving the nest to join him. Emma is shown here returning from one of those trips. Ace earned his name last week when a red-tailed hawk circled just a few feet over the nest as Emma looked up nervously. Ace responded immediately with a loud kek-kek-kek call and flew directly toward the intruder. In spite of its larger size, the red-tailed is no match for a cooper's hawk in air-to-air combat and retreated rapidly with Ace on his tail. The Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter Cooperii) is one of three types of accipiters found in North America, and all are known for their ferocity and ability to make mid-air intercepts of the birds they prey on. The largest of the three accipiters, the Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), can have such a severe impact on large game birds, such as pheasants and grouse, that there have been bounties on them in the past. The smallest member of the family, the Sharp Shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), can do a number on the smaller birds that are attracted to backyard feeders. The Cooper's Hawk is the mid-sized member of the accipiter family (about 17 inches long) and is infamous for the devastating impact that it can have on domestic poultry. This caused it to be aggressively hunted by farmers earlier this century and it is now classified as "rare" in Massachusetts. I'm anxious to see how Emma will do when the eggs hatch in the next week because immature hawks are not always as successful at rearing young as more mature females. She does, however, seem quite patient and diligent in her incubation.
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