On the same day that I journeyed out to eastern Long Island to enjoy birding Shinnecock Inlet in the fog I also explored the fields of Riverhead, where large flocks of geese congregate and where a Yellow-headed Blackbird had been reported recently amid a large flock of icterids at a Buffalo farm. I had no luck finding any “good” geese or the blackbird, but I was fortunate enough to come upon a Cooper’s Hawk that had found a very big meal to enjoy, a road-killed Canada Goose.

I pulled over across the road from the grisly scene, detached my spotting scope from from the tripod, hooked my camera to the scope, and started shooting. The hawk clearly cared neither about my presence nor that of cars whizzing past between us. It was focused on one thing and that was filling its belly and crop with as much goose flesh as they could possibly hold.

Cooper's Hawk

Click the image for a bigger version.

It was a great opportunity to watch a hawk at close range as it pulled feathers out its way, ripped off chunks of flesh, and paused occasionally to scan for threats. I stayed there for about half-an-hour and took over three hundred images and several videos. Unfortunately, the videos are shakier than I would like because of my lack of a window mount for my spotting scope, though I think the one below is relatively decent.

Here are some more shots:

Cooper's Hawk 2

Mouthful after mouthful of goose was ripped free and swallowed.

Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii

I love how much more cropping I can do because of the the file size of the photos with my new Canon EOS 70D.

Cooper's Hawk

Is it just me? Or is this bird giving a look that says, “If this were you lying here on the ground I would be doing the same thing to you.”

Cooper's Hawk on a Canada Goose carcass

What a bird! What a wonderful experience it was digiscoping it!

If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.