Hawks in Southern Ontario
by S. Volmer, Glenn, Dan, Robbin, John, Nancy, Christine, K. Ivan
(Bowmanville, Toronto, Richmond Hill, Brantford, Brampton, Oakville)
S. Vollmer wrote to say ..... I'm pretty sure we have a pair of Falcons in our back yard. We have had hawks before, but these friends are new. They make the *western movie* sound. This morning I got a chance to see them catch their breakfast! They are very noisy (a young pair, I think), but we certainly don't mind. I don't know how long they'll stay, but I don't mind if they make it permanent ;)
Glenn from Bowmanville, wrote to tell us of his sighting of a Cooper's Hawk ..... Backyard - Bowmanville. She (larger) chased several birds unsuccessfully right through the middle of a large maple tree. Just missed a finch. Also, November 15th, witnessed a Cooper's Hawk attack on a Junco - a juvenile male, I believe.
Dan from Toronto said ..... I was watching our backyard platform feeder - sparrows, a cardinal, a red-breasted nuthatch, mourning doves, scattering whenever a blue jay swooped in to grab the peanuts. Suddenly, a huge bird streaked in from the left, too big to be a mourning dove, while the other birds scattered. It landed on the fence to our right - most definitely some type of hawk. We googled some hawk photos and looks like this was a Cooper's Hawk - white breast with reddish streaks, white tipped striped tail. It remained on the fence for a few minutes before flying away. It took a while for the rest of the birds to venture back to the feeder. Wish we had a better camera on hand. We've seen hawks soaring above before but never had such a close encounter - exciting!
Also, Dan from Toronto wrote to say ..... I was in the Don Mills and Eglinton area a few days ago while cycling, I always keep alert to my surroundings for the wildlife in the Don Valley and I noticed by a couple high-rise buildings in the sky a about four fairly good sized birds dive-bombing one another and flying a high rate of speed as well as soaring pretty high up in the sky. I am hoping someone can help identify what these birds were, as I have been biking this trail for a very long time and have seen plenty of birds, birds of prey and plenty of other types of birds and other beautiful wildlife along this beautiful trail we have right under our noses. They were white all over and it was a great sight. It was around 12 pm when I noticed these birds and they did look like birds of prey by the way they were soaring and diving at one another. This valley never ceases to amaze me as to what I have been blessed to see.
Robbin MacDonald from Richmond Hill wrote to tell us ..... I am on the 7th floor of a building facing south, and luckily my main view is the Dunlap Observatory lands. A while back I noticed a beautiful golden coloured raptor soaring above the forest. It has since flown by my apartment several times. I have seen Red Tailed Hawks numerous times and I can tell you this bird is significantly larger. I'd say at a minimum the wing span must be no less then three feet. My first though is a Golden Eagle? There are numerous food sources, from rodents, foxes, other birds, raccoons, etc... Any suggestions? Unfortunately the only pictures I have are from my iPhone and at a distance so not very good.
On January 11, John, from Toronto, spotted a Sharp Shinned Hawk, he says ..... I was walking though a field at Victoria Park and Danforth Ave with my dog and we found what I believe is a Sharp Shinned Hawk. It was dead just off trail. It did not look like it was prey. It was frozen and in good shape, and I thought it was kind of weird. Is there a chance that he was sick with some type of disease. Should it be reported for investigation?
Nancy from Brantford said ..... I drove home after dark to find a hawk in the driveway but it was not inclined to move out of the way. I had to drive around it when it flew off with something in it's talons. Next day I checked the spot it was in and found little feathers and blood spattered corn on the pavement. Pigeon or mourning dove for dinner? I notice these Hawks drifting around downtown a lot these days and when they are there isn't a squirrel to be found. A friend saw a squirrel snatched right off a branch one evening.
Christine wrote to say ..... I live at Queen and Dixie street in Brampton, Ontario. There are a lot of falcons and hawk type birds that fly around here. I see at least two of them soaring above every day. I saw one by Lisa Street with a squirrel in its talons. It had killed it and was flapping around with it in its feet. They soar and look really beautiful flying above the buildings. The Silver maple court, Lisa street area.
K. Ivan from Oakville wrote to say ..... Today I was working on my computer at my kitchen table, facing my backyard, when I looked out and saw a massive bird beside our pool. At first I thought it was a Canada Goose, as it was so large, then I thought maybe a duck as it had such large wings and they were sleek and tucked back. But then it was all spotted in the front down its chest. Its January and -7 degrees, so the raptor was standing in the snow and yanking at something in its claws with its beak, it was stretching it and it appeared to be a snake. I was shocked as I've never seen a hawk or falcon or eagle in our yard before. We back onto a small ravine, but it is by no means a wooded area - although there are small woods nearby. It was there tearing at this snake for about 5 minutes, and I was too shocked to do anything by stare at it. Didn't even get a picture! There was snow on the ground, so I was surprised it would find a snake, but during the summer we definitely have garter snakes out back around the pool. I'm still in shock. Does anyone know what kind of raptor this would be? From the pictures it looks like a Cooper's Hawk, but it was very very large! The size of a Turkey or Canada Goose easily. And very fat...when it flew off, I couldn't believe the wing span.
One of our readers wrote to say ..... I saw a hawk or a falcon (it was all too quick to get a good look) in the back garden of a house I was visiting near Upper Middle Rd W/4th Line, Oakville (August 2014). It was having difficulty with what looked like an American Robin, causing it to come down to the ground and into a plant momentarily, then it got itself, and the prey, together and took off.Thank you all for taking the time to write and tell us about your Hawk sightings - I know our readers will enjoy them as much as I have!