Stephen has developed a new habit: he likes to honk. Every three to five minutes he will produce this sound once and go about his business until the next one must be shared with the world. He has not deigned to explain this behavior.

Perhaps he is trying to communicate with the local crows but speaking American Crow with an accent. It’s marauding season when juvenile crows get together in gangs to explore the world and the adults venture off their territories so as not to be home when a bunch of teenagers arrive demanding money, the car, and then set up in the basement doing who-knows-what.  In short, there are a lot of locals flying about. Perhaps the honk is crow for “Get off my lawn.”

Or maybe he is trying to channel his inner duck. I have not asked if he identifies as a Mallard.

Whatever the purpose, it is driving Super Hub crazy. SH has excellent hearing and so waiting for the next honk is like waiting for the next drip from a leaky faucet. While SH’s ears are at at least Defcon 3 alert status at all times, mine are more laid back, opting to operate on muffled and low volume settings. In short, the honks don’t bother me.

This morning, however, the honks stopped. Snafu stopped his chatter. Gwen uncharacteristically had nothing to say. Peace. That’s how we knew something was off. Super Hub looked out the back and there was a Cooper’s Hawk perched on the back fence. It probably wasn’t the same one who invited itself to Thanksgiving dinner last year although they look the same. They both are/were juveniles. Give-aways are the yellow eyes (adult eyes are red) and lack of blue gray coloring on the head and wings. Presumably Turkey Day bird has more mature plumage by now. In addition, adults wouldn’t be looking for easy prey and/or would know that going after a bird in an enclosure isn’t going to work.

Whatever his age, yesterday’s bird was in the market for breakfast. Just a little something to go with his grande latte with soy milk and no foam (or whatever the raptor equivalent is), and Snafu apparently fit the bill quite nicely. So the Coop looked at Snafu and we looked at the Coop. Snafu was very, very, very still.  (I should note that Snafu is in a large cage behind two layers of chicken wire on a screened-in porch and was in no danger.) The Coop finally made his move and ended up face-planting into the screen. No injury to anything but his dignity. He flew off to seek his repast elsewhere.

I use the pronoun “he” in this instance somewhat advisedly. In raptor species, the females are generally larger than the males. If you leave a male and female coop alone in an enclosure overnight, you will have a live female and dead male in the morning. Since there are baby coops around, it’s safe to assume that the females must mellow out a bit during breeding season but at this time of year, the guys have to watch their step.