Cooper’s Hawk Raids Bluebird Box

June 3, 2011

Cooper's Hawk Raids Bluebird Box (Screen Shot supplied by Jill aka NightOwlet in chat)

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We don't want to be the food, we want the food

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Cooper’s Hawk Raids Bluebird box

A Cooper’s hawk raided the Bluebird box yesterday and got away with one of the babies. This upset several viewers until I explained that this is nature and to think of it as a mother hawk getting food for her babies. We don’t protect the rodents, the rabbits, the possums, the bugs or the worms, why should be protect the birds? This is nature and the cycle of life and we let nature keep it in balance in our backyard. If we start protecting one species over another then soon we will have an imbalance.

Think about it, the only reason you want them protected is because you are watching them. If for instance, you were watching rabbits, you would get upset if an owl came and took one or all the baby bunnies, but if on the other hand you are watching an owl box then you are happy when the owl returns from a hunt with a bunny. Our basic policy is to watch, not interfere.

I have been asked if I think the hawk will return. Yes, most assuredly. Once they find a food source they will almost always return for more. On the other hand the babies may have learned also, to move to the back of the box. Cooper’s hawks also seem to have a way of knowing when baby birds fledge and they show up to watch, wait and catch, but with a little luck one or two of the baby bluebirds will survive.

The Bluebird box will be down until Sunday. No, it is not because the hawk showed up; it is because Austin needs the equipment to do a live broadcast on Saturday and he had to pack things up today.

We hope to have the Bluebird Box back up live sometime Sunday morning.

All the best,

Carlos, Donna and Austin

43 Responses to “Cooper’s Hawk Raids Bluebird Box”

  1. flukestail Says:

    Carlos’ commentary about the Cooper’s Hawk raiding the blue bird box reminds me of why I’m a vegetarian. I don’t do well with the “circle of life” or “food chain” explanation. It breaks my heart to know the hawk got one of the babies. It broke my heart every time McGee or Molly would return to the owl box with a mouse or bunny. I’m so hoping the blue bird babies move to the back of the box, grow up strong and able to fly faster than the hawk, and move on to soar through the skies. May we all be free from harm…and be at the top of the food chain…munching on carrots and peas.

  2. SueinMaine Says:

    Very well said, Carlos! I once read about hawks taking a mourning dove. It explained that if the doves become overpopulated they can become diseased and that nature knows best. Hard to see sometimes, but it’s the way of nature. Thanks for such a wonderful opportunity to view the boxes with you…xoxoxoxo
    By the way, this is keeping me company while my daughter is at the hospital giving birth to my fourth grandchild. I’m awaiting a call for when she wants me to come. Love to you and your family. Sue

  3. LoveYourDNA Says:

    … so cruel…

  4. LoveYourDNA Says:

    …but you’re right, Carlos, 100%!

  5. ranyart Says:

    Great pics as always Carlos – and LOL ‘we don’t want to be the food, we want the food’. You have such a wonderful attitude – I look forward to your blog posts – you always make me smile. Thank you.

  6. Bonnibell Says:

    Nature is so wonderful, but there are times that it can be painful. I refused to watch National Geographic, the parts where the chase and the kill happens. It’s is something we just need to accept. I pray these little guys will be safe.. Great photos, Carlos. You capture the real feel of what is happening. Thank you. Bonnibell

  7. Eleanor Dodge Says:

    I couldn’t have said it better Carlos. It is nature after all. Not something I enjoy seeing but I do understand the balance and cycle of life. Have a great weekend!

  8. Caboval Says:

    Carlos, thanks for reminding us that this is nature and it does happen. I know it has happened in my own backyard with hummingbird babies and the crows. There is nothing you can do but try and to remain positive and that some survive! It sure has been fun watching other happeneings in your backyard and I look forward to Sunday to see what we see next. Shoot Id be happy to see your vegetable garden! LOL Hugs, Caboval

  9. Kathy Says:

    Much as I understand the balance of nature I still am not happy when the birds and bunnies are eaten. I find it especially hard to lose the baby birds because man has taken over so many of their nesting areas that we must protect them. That means sometimes they need a little extra help from us. Just as Carlos did with the mister for the owls when it was so hot. We used to have a lot of nesting birds around our house but the crows have gotten more babies than they should and now I find few nests and of those the babies are here one day and gone the next.

  10. Kim gorman Says:

    Carlos, as Ranyart said, your attitude is wonderful and reminds us all to stay positive and let nature be nature. I’m glad I didn’t see it, though, because, like flukestail, I’m also vegetarian, and like Bonnibel, I can’t watch the hunting scenes on any program!


  11. Kim Gorman Says:

    Carlos, as Ranyart said, your attitude is wonderful and reminds us all to stay positive and let nature be nature. I’m glad I didn’t see it though, because, like flukestail, I’m also vegetarian, and like Bonnibel, I can’t watch the hunting scenes on any program!


  12. A FAN OF M&M Says:

    Good perspective Carlos. Never easy to watch but totally expected in nature! Not sure if this is a forbidden subject these days, but any report on M&M? Have they returned to the box at night? We so enjoyed watching the end of C3 and very curious what they have been up these last couple of days! As always thank you for all that you do. Love have this looking glass into nature, through the good the bad and the very hard to take moments.

  13. Glenn Says:

    Carlos, You said it perfectly! This is the way of nature the wild. You explained in better then anyone could have and love watching this. Thank you Carlos Donna, and Austin. P.S. Carlos don’t you have spare camera?

    • A FAN OF M&M Says:

      LOL Glenn!

    • carlosroyal Says:

      I have lots of cameras that is not the issue. The computer we use to broadcast the The Bluebird Box is the only one I have that can be used in a remote location for wireless broadcssting and Austin has it so we have no way of broadcasting the Bluebird Box until we get the computer back. It will be back Sunday morning if all goes as expected. We us a completely remote setup to broadcast the Bluebird Box, the computer is located (when it is here) right below the Bluebird Box. Not like the Owl Box, that computer sits in my kitchen dining area. Those wires won’t reach the Bluebird Box plus I would have to completely disconnect the owl box to make it work. It is easier to just wait a day.

      • A FAN OF M&M Says:

        Carlos you are the best. We just admire all of your camera work. You take the best pictures and we know you have quality cameras and your skills present such awesome pictures. I was just chuckling because you do have such great photo’s.

        I hope this did not hit a nerve as this was meant as a giggle!

        With that said, would be great to have an update on M&M if you have one!

  14. Jo-Ann Says:

    Yes, you are correct. When I was in Norway, and we were walking down the big mountain (we had taken a tram up and and were hiking down) we heard a lot of squawking and looked up and a small bird was chasing a hawk who had one of her/his babies.. The hawk landed about 20 feet in front of us and dropped the baby. When the mother/father saw the baby and it was dead it stopped its squawking and flew away. The hawk had it’s meal… It was sad, but I agree with Carlos, that is nature.

  15. Teresa Says:

    I had bluebirds fledge two weeks ago. It was right after I started seeing them come to the opening of the box, so chances are they will fledge in the next few days. The adult birds are very protective and attentive when they fledge (mine fledged in the very early morning hours) and then seclude them in the branches of a tree for a couple of weeks. Hopefully, this will protect them from the hawk somewhat. I was thrilled tonight to see the two fledgings from my box near the feeder, and the adults building a new nest. Thank you Carlos for letting me see the sights I miss at my own box.

  16. Lisa A. Burns Says:

    We Love you Carlos, Donna, and Austin!!! thank you!!

  17. Marilee Godsil Says:

    Thank you, Carlos for giving us an opportunity to see the “real deal” with Nature. It’s feels unfair and awful; but it’s Nature’s Way, as you said. I had a feeder full of sunflower seeds and would enjoy watching every sort of hungry bird feed,as I was indoors within a foot of the feeder. One day, a red tailed hawk swooped in and took a chickadee, and broke the tiny bird on a rock below the window. I still cry, after 2 yrs. But, it’s the way the world goes round in balance, as Carlos said.

  18. PegRod Says:

    What amazing photographs Carlos has captured once again of the various intersects of the cameras, the teak-shingled box, the bluebirds. and the Cooper’s Hawk.

    Each day is a new surprise from the lessons learned on The Owl Box channel from observing nature in the Royal Gardens. The links provided and discussions in the chatroom are stimulating. So much wealth is found on Mollys blog and on the WordPress site, from the photographs and entries by Carlos Royal to the thoughtful comments! Everyone’s descriptive and poetic writing has improved over the past year here!

  19. Leslee Says:

    I wonder what the live show Austin is doing tomorrow…I’d like to watch it if possible…I watched his other one…BMX contest…

  20. VSue Says:

    Thank you so much Carlos for sharing

    It is true, we can watch but to interfere would be very wrong

    I know there are those that will say, “Well, isn’t building a Bluebird Box interfering”? No, it is just helping them have a place to build a home.

    Think about this, if not for us humans, they would have plenty of trees and holes in old logs and whatever to nest in yet here us humans came in and tore down trees, flattened land, built our own homes where they likely lived.

    So, having Bluebird Boxes, like having owlboxes, is just helping them have more places to have a place called home.

    Thank you again Carlos for keeping us all up to date on the Carlos Backyard Bird, Owl, etc…happenings.

  21. floridaheat Says:

    Thank you Carlos for the pictures and the explanation. I grew up on a lake surrounded by wild-life and learned at an early age about death in the wildlife kingdom. You sure hit the nail on the head when you said it is more upsetting when you witness the actual death. Of course we are all happy when we know baby animals are being fed, but we do not stop and think of the animals that must die for another to survive. This is life! This is mother-nature! I truly believe the more one is around nature, the easier it is to accept death for the living to continue. Also, my Mom grew up on a farm in AR in the 1920s and she taught us about life and death on the farm–“it’s nature’s way” she used to say. Please don’t stop the pictures–they are wonderful and sad but they are life!
    Good luck Austin on the broadcast. Happy trails Carlos and Donna!

  22. Carlynne Allbee Says:

    Thank you for a well written blog. One other aspect people fail to appreciate is the agility of the hawk. There was no perch he could stand on and no hand to use to reach in as we could.

    Yes, it is a part of nature.

  23. OoltewahTN Says:

    We are part of the “whole circle of life” thingy. That has been brought home lately by all these tornadoes, some of which happened close to my house. The woods have been torn to shreds, so birds have lost nesting places and animals have lost their homes. At the same time, human beings have lost their homes and in some cases their whole way of life. Yet the birds came back to nest right away, the open spaces are good for deer and birds like quail and turkeys, the dead and fallen trees provide new homes for animals, and human beings are also starting to rebuild. Life goes on. Nature is bigger than all of us and mostly out of our control. Trying to control it doesn’t always make things better – you have to look at the big picture. People used to kill hawks, and now all raptors are protected by law. There are good reasons for that.

  24. Marilee Godsil Says:

    There’s a beautiful Native American tale to explain that one creature’s death becomes a treasure and glory. The tale is that a raven takes a mouse from a field and consumes him. The beauty of the story is that having been eaten, the mouse now has the gift of flight because his death nourished the raven.

  25. gmarch53 Says:

    I get it Carlos…we SS are also nature’s creatures, NO? May we kindly ask you for our SS back? Kindly pleez the gentlman that you truly are (always took the High Road) with luv gmarch53 aka glenna

    • imrw39frank Says:

      I agree with you Glenna.
      Please Carlos,Return our home to us. We Black sheep of the SS need a place to go at night. Please Carlos. Baaaaaa

  26. moniq50 Says:

    Carlos, again the picutures you post or beautiful.
    Yes, Nature sure can be cruel sometimes, but you put it very well, the hawks also need to feed their young, and find food where they can. I do hope also, the other baby blue birds will move towards the back when this happens again. Thank you for letting sharing with us to watch and learn.
    Hugz to the Royals

  27. Camperfamily (Kim) Says:

    Nature is ‘raw’ with beauty. We have come to understand this over this last year, and thanks to Carlos, Donna and Austin, we will contiue to see just how beautiful!
    Hugs to all:)

  28. Becky Says:

    Wow. Ididn’t really think about birds eating other birds. But, in ‘survival of the fittest’, it makes sense. Still, any creature w/the word ‘baby’ in front of it makes some people sad to see devoured. I’m glad I’ve never seen a bunny eaten. But, excellent, excellent reporting on nature. I’m so grateful that you have taken on this activity. I have been so informed and entertained by it all. Thank you.

  29. jacque green Says:

    Thank you for information, circle of life is hard sometimes, but I love watching it all.Thank you and Austin keep it we love it.

  30. Sherrie Pearl Says:


    Thank you so much for broad casting the blue bird box. Nature isn’t always easy to watch, but that’s the way it is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found piles of feathers in my yard because a hawk had a mourning dove for a meal. I had a family of house wrens in a ceramic house one day and the next morning the house was on the ground and all the babies were gone, heartbreaking to say the least. Now I have a new wren house up and hopefully it will have babies in it soon. I just watched 2 robin babies fledge, and am now waiting for the other nest of babies to get big and fledge. Isn’t nature grand.
    Hugs to you, Donna & Austin


  31. SARose69 Says:

    Speaking from fairly high on the food chain, I can’t begrudge any creature it’s food. We do identify more with some critters than others but Nature doesn’t really play favorites.

  32. Astrid (child by heart) Says:

    Yes , that is nature… had to witness on Mothersday how a black snake went into the nest of the Mocking Bird and stole the 4 eggs, and the next day in the Backyard went to the Cardinal’s nest, while Mom and Dad where loudly objecting,and stole there eggs.I have seen the snake eating all the Lizzards , but never dreamed to see him climbing below the nest and taking them from underneath out.

  33. mandozee Says:

    True carlos: Nature must take it’s course we must watch but not interfear. But I don’t think helping a wounded animal is interfearing. mandozee

  34. mandozee Says:

    PS watch it or not, like it or not, nature will continue even after we humans take there homes and hunting grounds, but we are part of nature also. and plants can feel also, so I think vegetarians are not off the hook. mandozee

  35. Sandy Says:

    as always, incredible snap shots! Coopers hawk feeding their young; very well put, Carlos. You are so good at what you do. Thx.

  36. Bet Says:

    Great photo. I respect your approach, however, I think when we put up nestboxes, and lure cavity nesters to them, we have an obligation to the tenants to make them as safe as possible. A deeper box, a thick hole guard, or a Noel guard would help deter avian predators.

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