Hawk Scares The Hork Out Of Molly Watchers

September 10, 2010

Cooper's Hawk Attacks Owl Box

4D5Q0156 Cooper's Hawk Eyes Owl Box SF

Cooper's Hawk Eyes Owl Box

Molly Leaves With Rodent


Molly Returns with Treat

Molly Watching Hawk Below (see photo above)

Molly Watchers got a real scare this morning as Molly was late making her final delivery just around first light and a young Cooper’s Hawk followed her to The Owl Box. The hawk actually attacked the box by flying around it and making loud squawking hawk sounds hopping to scare the owlets out of the owl box but Molly had joined the owlets inside and kept them calm. This dramatic event lasted for over 30 minute and all Molly Watchers could do was watch and hope as their hearts and adrenaline raced. Finally, the young hawk gave up and flew off.  As one watcher put it in the chat room, “I could finally breathe.”  
This is a prime example of why Barn Owls usually come and go after dark and before first light. Molly got away with a big mistake this morning when she decided to deliver her final treat just at first day light. The video camera actually caught the hawk following Molly to The Owl Box.  Videos can be viewed at www.ustream.tv/theowlbox or www.youtube.com/SirCarlosR
It seems in nature there is always drama.
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22 Responses to “Hawk Scares The Hork Out Of Molly Watchers”

  1. Wonderful shot of the Coopers Carlos. I wonder what about it makes you say it is a young one? I ask because I have Coopers that haunt my birds in NE Ohio. I have a few shots, but find them quite shy of me.

  2. Elizabeth or ET27 Says:

    I was awake & watching here in Ottawa. It definitely was exciting. The owlets had been squawking and then they got totally silent. I looked over to OB2 and there was an owl eating on the platform below the fledge ledge. That owl carried the treat up to the owl box and the hissing began in earnest. The owl flew off, complete with treat.

    It was all fascinating as I continued to watch OB & OB2 side by side and I could see what turned out to be the hawk fly by as Molly returned to the roof of the box.

    Great photos!

    As a birdwatcher I found it all both exciting & scary (on behalf of the owlets) but I had faith in Molly!

  3. Nancy Brown Says:

    Carlos you are correct in identifying it as a juvenile,brown back and brown streaks on breast. Adults grey above with buff/rusty breast. By size a female. In Coopers Hawks the females are larger than the males. Thank you for everything you are doing that allows us to witness nature in its finest. As always striking photography!

  4. Rosemary Says:

    Oh wow, I was so lucky to be viewing the box when that owl box got really loud with the owlets trying to get Molly’s attention.. Like you and so
    many other MOD’s I think I stopped breathing for
    a few minutes there..

    Molly is stuck in the box for the day, but I thought she would never survive the pecking she
    was getting from her own kidz. LOL

    Fabulous photography Carlos, YOU are the Man!!!!

  5. JKW Says:

    Thanks so much for the tape and the pictures here and the explanation. . . JanKW Blessings, Janet

  6. Thanks Nancy. I think what I am seeing here is mainly juveniles, with the white/brown streaks on chest. I think the adults fly in quick, catch prey and fly off….which is what I see….flying off.

  7. Mary Smith Says:

    Thanks Carlos for the wonderful pictures and the recording by the Hawk. I am going to go view the video now. We are so fortunate to have someone who captures all this in nature. The photos have been terrific look forward to more views and photo’s.

  8. arags Says:

    “Want some drama, Mama?
    It happened today!…
    When dangerz came,
    Molly chased it away!

    The MODz all clapped,
    and horked: Hip, hip, hoooray!!

    Our spirits can once again soar.
    Carlos put the shieldz up …
    on the door.”
    Whew! What an exciting morning! Glad it had a happy ending. Kudos to the man behind the lens. He did it again :-) WOW

  9. Tammie Says:

    Is it likely that the hawk will return to the box on another day when Molly is not there and harm the owlets? Please put something in response to this on the blog if you don’t mind Carlos–thank you so much!

  10. Jacque Bell Says:

    I thank the good lord that our babies are safe. Praying they stay that way. Molly is a wonderful mother, <3

  11. Sunny Says:

    i want to receive the news letter please. email address is sunshynkat354@aol.com, thanks

  12. Great Pictures Carlos, especially without coffee, cafe mocha or tea!

  13. Sarah Jane Says:

    Thanks, Carlos!

  14. Susan / Suey Pit Says:

    Wow. What excitement. Now the hawk flew after Molly because she was flying in the new daylight? (good thing she had the box which to flee) So why would a hawk not attack an owl sitting in a tree during the day then? Or was the Hawk somehow knowing there were owlets inside the box? Oh, so many questions about the great mystery that is nature!

  15. Lynne Says:

    Fabulous photos Carlos. Hopefully Molly won’t make that mistake again. It would have been heartbreaking if something were to have happened to the owlets. Thank you Carlos and Donna for letting the world into your backyard.

  16. Cathair Says:

    Seeing the fear on Molly’s and the babies’s faces this morning and feeling the fear of all of us watching – made us realize what a ROYAL family we ALL are. Thanks for the priveledge and the fun

  17. Kevin Says:

    2 years ago we had a a raven go into our owl box and it killed all 4 owlets and it did not even eat any of them. It just left them there.

  18. Deborah Says:

    Per a websit allaboutbirds.org : If a Cooper’s Hawk takes up residence in your yard, you can take your feeders down for a few days and the hawk will move on.

    Thank you for all you do Carlos and Donna

  19. EFS Tucson Says:

    Carlos, There is a growing consensus on the http://sportsmansparadiseonline.com/Live_Owl_Nest_Box_Cam.html site that the hawk did not “actually [attack] the box by flying around it and [make] loud squawking hawk sounds hopping to scare the owlets out of the owl box.” Raptors rely on stealth, and prey react to their presence by freezing. It seems more likely, according to “Lissanne”, who has expertise in this, and others, that the young Cooper’s hawk was interested in Molly, and frustrated when she “disappeared,” hence the squawking. It’s less likely that the hawk would have been trying to spook the owls out of the nest; he probably had little/no idea they were there. Molly was likely never in real danger, and the owlets likely were not either. This isn’t a comment in criticism, but an alternative perspective on events of the night. Your site is wonderful, and my housework suffers as a result! Thanks.

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