This morning we spent some time watching a Cooper’s Hawk in our neighbor’s back yard. Theparticular neighbor in question keeps a mini-flock of four chickens in theirbackyard, and apparently, the Cooper’s Hawk thought that chicken would makea good meal on a cold and rainy Saturday. Unfortunately for the hawk,and fortunately for the chickens, the poultry was locked up inside a coop ofsorts so the hawk couldn’t get at the chickens. That didn’t stop thehawk from menacing the chickens for a good half hour or more. Thechicken coop is basically a chain link fence, run around a rectangular areawith a loose piece of chicken wire fence thrown over the top of itall. The hawk would get down on the ground and stare in at thechickens. This staring would set off a frenzy of clucking and crowingthat we could hear inside our house. After doing this for a while, thehawk would fly up on top of the chicken wire “roof” and stare downat the chickens from above. This would set off more frenzied cluckingand crowing. What the hawk didn’t know was that the more he sat on thechicken wire, the farther and farther into the chicken coop it sank. Had he flown up and landed on the chicken wire “roof” just a fewmore times, there was a better than average chance the roof would have givenway and the hawk would have gotten his Saturday poultry after all. Weweren’t sure initially whether or not the bird in question was asharp-shinned hawk or a Cooper’s hawk, but the size of the hawk, and thefact it was hunting chickens instead of song birds or woodpeckers, helped usto decide that it was, in fact, a Cooper’s hawk. Regardless, it was reallyneat to see a raptor in our backyard in Alameda.