Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 28, 2011

Death by talons

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

With the mercury heading toward 102 degrees, an early start was called for; time to head down Courthouse Wash to find Cooper’s Hawk nests. They should have babies by now.

A mass of feathers are all that remains of a Cooper's Hawk that has been in this nest for many years. Double-click it.

Nest 1D didn’t look occupied, so I set up my spotting scope for a better view. On further examination, it was NOT empty. Feathers were scattered around… and a foot. And what appeared to be the top of a head. Pretty much a violent crime scene, right here in our national parks. The length of the feathers told me it had to be an adult bird, and the colors were right for a Cooper’s Hawk.

I radioed my boss to notify her of my find, knowing she’d want to investigate for herself since the nest was quite accessible. Soon Tricia and I were scouring the nearby side canyon to see if we could find any sign of the only predator that would attack an adult Cooper’s Hawk on its nest. No Great Horned Owl nest, or even a single pellet, was found, although one has been documented a couple miles downstream. We assumed one had dismembered the Cooper’s and carried the meaty parts to feed its own young.

And that’s all I have to say today. Nature can be grisly.


  1. It fascinates me that there is no morality – or ethics – or laws attached to or governing the barest fact of all – survival.
    One does what one has to do to survive and pass on one’s genetic material. No right – no wrong – either you succeed or you don’t.
    The end, it would seem, justifies the means . . .

    Comment by leroque — June 29, 2011 @ 7:47 am | Reply

  2. It is so much fun being part of your adventures! Thanks for posting your findings.
    Today, I am sitting out on my deck watching a hen turkey feed under the neighbors bird feeder. A couple days ago two yearling fawns walked up and looked at the townhouses then turned and went back into the valley. It is 80 degrees sunny and clear skies. One of those ideal summer days we wait for in MInnesota.

    Comment by Deb — June 29, 2011 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

    • Summer in MN sure is sweet… or shall I say, it CAN BE sweet when the weather cooperates! Looking forward to seeing you again, Deb…

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — June 29, 2011 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

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