Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Artistic Cooper's Hawk...

…for me, fuzzy photos = artistic photos, so this batch is as artsy as they come…but I love them! I took these through the screen of the kitchen window in glowing late afternoon light. I had to climb up on the counter, sitting half in the sink to capture them because he was almost out of view. The strange angle of the lens against the screen put a soft halo around the bird…and the low-angled sunlight lit the grasses in the background with warm golden tones.

This is a handsome bird. When I look at his eyes and beak I see beauty, but the little birds in my yard don't see that. Instinctually, they see danger. So starts the love/hate relationship with hawks and other birds of prey.

I'm a fluffy bird. I like to fluff. Fluffing is my favorite...

I like how the camera captured his eye in this photo...just a sliver.

I am a formidable bird. Look into my eyes and tell me I don't make you tremble...

I have no idea what he's looking at here. He obviously dropped in to pick up some some fast food at our feeders, but all of our little McTitmice, McJuncos and McChickadees were long gone.

I spent about an hour and a half last night looking through my books of nature poetry trying to find a poem about a hawk. Seems poets shy away from the power of the bird or the fact that he kills for a living. I found a few, but nothing struck me with the beauty I see in this bird. Not even Emily Dickinson or Thoreau came through for me. Walt Whitman has a nice poem about a hawk, but the line...
“The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.”
…didn’t capture what I felt when I saw him. I think Emerson's essay on nature and beauty probably comes a little closer:
A NOBLER WANT OF man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty.
The ancient Greeks called the world Cosmos, beauty. Such is the constitution of all things, or such the plastic power of the human eye, that the primary forms, as the sky, the mountain, the tree, the animal, give us a delight in and for themselves; a pleasure arising from outline, color, motion, and grouping.
(from "Essays and Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson.")

...there is no denying the beauty in his form and eyes, but even though I'm drawn to him, I have to acknowledge his power and his ability to kill the little birds I feed.

....I think I'll forget about that part and remember his job is to pull the sick and slow birds out of the population. Mother Nature has a plan, so I'll admire the fierce glare in his eyes and sleek tilt of his brow...and shoo him away every now and then as I try to get closer with my camera (because I don't think Mother Nature envisioned her Cooper's getting fat at the local fast-food joint!). Good thing our Blue Jays sound the warning and the healthy birds get out fast.

Be sure to visit Bird Photography Weekly for cool birds seen all around the world.

50 comments:

yen said...

it is artistic for sure and I love the hues in the background.

will the bird be startled if you attempt to open the screen?

RuthieJ said...

Great post Kelly! I'm very glad that we share the same appreciation of backyard hawks.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Even though I don't see them close by, we must have some hawks near here also. When our birds scatter, they REALLY are GONE...

Great pictures of the your hawk. What is his name????
Hugs,
Betsy

Steve Willson said...

I just finished loading my yard hawk photos for my next post and now I find that your fuzzy shots are clearer than mine. Someday I'll post some of my less than clear shots and show you what fuzzy really means. Love your fancy Cooper's Hawk.

Scrappy Cat said...

Great photos!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Beautiful shots, Kelly. The fluffy one is my favorite! :)

Ginnymo said...

Wow!! What beautiful photos Kelly!!! The colors are amazing!! He sure is a handsome guy!!

Susanna H. said...

I call my blurry pics "impressionist." Yours look like beautiful paintings, or at least studio shots. Rainbowy! And just today we had a questionably sized Cooper's or Sharpie! I think she was after a chipmunk.

Roy said...

Good shots! Was that effect caused by shooting through double glass, or were you using a telephoto (my telephoto under certain conditions will halo things in red)?

Rambling Woods said...

I enjoyed this post..I am always looking for something literary to go with my photos .... I get Coopers here often during the winter. I nicknamed one 'Scary Coopers Hawk' as it seemed it was here often. Also get sharp-shinned and an occasional red-tail during the summer....Michelle

Kelly said...

yen....thank you. I love it when light and shadow work with the camera to create something cool! Yes....I had the window open, so at least the glass was out of the way, but if I would have tried to pop the screen, he would have bolted.

Ruthie...yes, whenever I see one I just have to stare...they are beautiful. Thank you!!

Betsy...thanks...you have to have some hawks around with your golf course, fields and woods. They would have great hunting! A name....hmmmm.....I'm going to have to name this guy...any idea?

Steve...thank you. I bet you have a lot of different types of hawks in your yard--considering the size of your yard!!! I can't wait to see your shots...

Cheryl...thank you!

Adrienne...I loved that shot too. When I was taking the photograph I hoped I caught some of his fluffing. He really puffed up...love that!! Thanks...

Ginny...thank you!! With all your foxes around, do you get many hawks? Your little mice and chipmunks won't have much of a chance if you do (getting the predators from the air and ground)!

Susanna...thank you!! Did you get photos. I'll have to head over. Yes...."Impressionistc" is perfect. I have lots of those. The light did help with these shots. You just don't conditions like that very often.

Roy...I was shooting through a screen. I had the window up, so at least the glass was out of the way. I also was using a 200mm and a 2x converter, so the telephoto lens helped blur the background. The funny position I was in kept me from holding still enough...and I was at an angle against the screen (part of the lens was touching and part not--about a 45 degree angle). I think the screening at the angle played with the focus and caused the haloing. Plus...the magnificent light in the background and the deep shadows in the foreground (the kitchen window is north facing).

Michelle....I love Scary Cooper's Hawk! That's a perfect name. Matching my photos to poems and essays is so much fun. I don't do it enough. I especially like it when I find old references.......love connecting the old with the new, especially with those romanticists!

Elaine said...

These are absolutely beautiful shots! The color is lovely and they seem to glow. I love artistic photos too and am glad you shared these with us. I am quite adept at the fuzzy photo, so thank goodness I can occassionally label one as artistic!

Kelly said...

Elaine..yes...the fuzzier the better....because we all need a little art in our lives! Thanks...

Sue said...

Great shots Kelly, and I love how fuzzy equates with being artistic. I'm an artist..........wow!
;D

Roy said...

Thanks kelly for risking life and limb {:) to capture these amazing images.

Midmarsh John said...

Great post Kelly. A magnificent looking bird. The photos through the screen turned out well. Maybe that slightly fuzzy, sorry artistic, view is what the smaller birds get. I love that almost rainbow coloured beak - quite a flashy creature.

Cathy B. said...

Surprising and beautiful result! I only regret not read English well enough to really appreciate poetry.

HBFG said...

Those shots are truly artistic and beautiful.
Love the glow too!
Great job and beautiful bird!

Caroline said...

Yes indeed - depth of field, fuzzy, artistic = gorgeous!! That is one beeeautiful bird! You are so clever with the lens!

Montanagirl said...

Kelly, this is a wonderful post. I too, like the softness of the photos and the colors in the background. This fellow visits my yard too, and perches in a tree just yards from the feeders. Last winter, we saw him catch a Woodpecker in mid-air. The WP had been clinging to the side of one of our deck boards, and finally decided to try and make it to another nearby tree. It was the last mistake he ever made. That's nature.

Kelly said...

Sue....yes...the fuzzier the more artistic! :-)

Roy...anything for the birds! ;-) Isn't that so true. We will do things for them we wouldn't for anything else (at least I will...). Thank you!

John....I shudder to think of the view the little birds get. You're probably right--I bet it is a bit fuzzy...

Cathy...thank you! The photos say it all--they definitely help with the language barrier. I can barely read French, so you're way ahead of me.

Mischi...thank you!

Caroline....thank you as well!

Mona...I've never seen one nab a bird in my backyard, but my son and I watch one grab a tiny vole and take him to the tree to eat him. thanks!

Robin Robinson said...

I have a friend who has just written a book about Emily Dickensen's references to birds in her work. The book is at the publishers as I write. I'll ask about the Cooper's Hawk or other hawk references. I love you photography - a girl after my own heart!

Deb said...

Stunning photos Kelly of Coopers Hawk!! We actually have claw marks down our kitchen window thanks to the Coopers Hawk who eyes our Sparrows :-( Whenever we hear a loud BANG we know he's been at the feeders. I know exactly what you mean about the love/hate relationship with the birds of prey.

Warren Baker said...

I wish someone had got a picture of you half in the sink kelly!

The hawk in my garden is very fussy, it doesn't take the sick birds!

oldcrow61 said...

How wonderful. The photos are marvelous.

holdingmoments said...

Magnificent looking bird Kelly.
Superb captures; and the stare into the camera; wow.

Jenny said...

You conjure up a mind picture for me of you precariously balanced in the kitchen sink with a wet knee, clicking away! Great post Kelly and fabulous arty photos too. He's a cracker!

Jayne said...

I LOVE these photos Kelly! He's simply majestic. I, like you, figure that nature knows best. If he and his friends were not around, I'd hate to think about how all the birds would find something to eat. It's like deer hunting... I don't like to think about them being hunted, but if they weren't, there would be so many, the species would suffer.

hip chick said...

Oh that is a beautiful bird. You did such a grand job taking his picture.

Tina said...

Kelly,
Gorgeous shots of that hawk..and I just love the special affects you achieved with the angle of your shots and the light!! A very neat post!!

Susan said...

O Kelley
O great photographer/writer
O where's the book??

Jack Foster said...

Wow! Great pics. I think hawks are fascinating and you really captured the mistique. Nice work!!!

Larry said...

Gorgeous shots of the Cooper's Hawk Kelly. I really like the effect of the intense colors of the background.

I especially like photos of raptors looking directly at me. You can certainly see the power in them. Sometimes their gaze seems to convey their superiority.

You are so lucky to be able to see such a beauty in your own backyard. I have had only one visit from a Cooper's and I didn't have time to get a lens on it :-(

NicoleB said...

WOW,awesome post, pictures and words.
I love the glowing feel of the pics.Makes them a bit otherwordly.
I like your description of how you got themas well.
Grin :D

mick said...

Those are really great photos and I enjoyed your thoughts about the hawk.

Mary said...

Beautiful bird! All I ever seem to see are Red Tails.

Nick S said...

Fuzzy or not ,they still show what a powerful predator those accipiters are :-)

MjB said...

Robinson Jeffers' poem "Hurt Hawks" is one approach. Jeffers isn't my cup of tea-his general misanthropy is too much even for me--but this poem is widely cited:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=182234

Uncommon Depth said...

I love the effects of shooting through the screen. Years ago, with film based photography, people paid good money for filters that would achieve the same effects! ;-)

Krista Meister said...

I continue to be in awe of your photography, Kelly! Can't wait until Thanksgiving to paint!

-Krista

(Sorry, just now getting caught up on my friends' blogs...)

P.S.: My blog crashed on November 12th, and I’ve spent the entire weekend building a new blog. I’m over at TypePad now. You can access the new blog at my domain,

www.kristameister.com

but if you’re following in Google Reader or by e-mail subscription, you may need to unsubscribe from the old link and resubscribe. More tales of the drama on my blog!

NatureFootstep said...

how beautiful that hawk and your images are. To take pics that was is remarkable. Sometimes things just comes out right. And....thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

Well the effect is terrific, and this halo gives a special glimpse to an already terrific predator. I love this effect a lot, it is a majestic bird!!! Very funny results!

Mimmi said...

What an incredible beautiful pictures. And such a huge beautiful bird .. a thousand thanks for that, we saw this beautiful bird:)

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful shots of the Coopers hawk. And what a cool visitor.

Modesto Viegas said...

Strange effects, but interesting photos!!!
Regards

Heather said...

Stellar post, Kelly. I can just imagine you half-perched in the kitchen sink, talking to Mr. Hawk and asking him to stick around long enough for you to get some good shots. He is just so handsome and majestic. It truly is amazing that something so deadly can be so beautiful. I really like the excerpt of the Emerson essay, very fitting.

Connie said...

At first glance I thought you had done some impressive photoshop work. Once I begin reading I realized nope, it was just your normal photography talent. That is the prettiest hawk I've ever seen.

Beautiful photo's and the entire post.

Kerri said...

Excellent post! And Fabulous shots! WOW!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

I've just recently discovered your blog, thanks to Laure Ferlita, and am really enjoying your posts. I love the way you weave your own words with the words of others and with the beautiful photos.

Robin said...

Great pictures as always! I was driving past the Caesar Creek Visitor center yesterday and there was a large hawk sitting on one of the Bluebird houses. I wish I knew what kind. I thought it was a Red-Tailed but now, looking at your pictures, I'm not sure. I'll have to look him up. He did have a distinctive red tail.