Tuesday Morning Coffee Chat

On Sunday, we had an unusual visitor in our backyard. I was cooking dinner when Jon walked into the kitchen and caught movement out of the corner of his eye. When he looked outside, he saw this big bird sitting on our fence in the backyard.

I immediately got out my phone and started recording. I also consulted my bird ID app (why yes, don’t you have a bird-id app on your phone? If not, why not?) and it identified the rather large bird as possibly a (juvenile) Cooper’s Hawk. They’re common in the US, but I’ve never seen one up close like that.

Of course, if you know me, you know what I did next: I immediately consulted Google.

Hawks generally avoid humans and stay perched up high away from where we can see them. So, if a hawk visits you it’s a rare and unique experience.


I’ve definitely seen hawks in our area but they are usually circling overhead during my runs along the American River. I have never seen one up close, let alone one in our neighborhood. They’re not hanging around the backyards here, so it was quite unusual.

Jon and I were wondering if the bird was lost or possibly overheated. It seemed quite “calm” (it was sitting on the fence for a while and did not fly away when I opened the backdoor to get a better look at him) and it kept spreading its wings out (which Google says could be its attempt to regulate body temperature). It was a pretty hot day on Sunday, so that’s a possibility. We did put out a bowl with water, in case it was thirsty, and kept an eye on it for quite a while. It did not find the water bowl and eventually, it flew up onto the roof of the neighbor’s house, sat there for a while longer, and then flew off.

According to various beliefs and cultures, a hawk visiting your yard is often seen as a sign of good luck. A hawk’s presence brings positive energy and blessings into your life and is considered a fortuitous encounter. In some cultures, seeing a hawk up close is considered a sign from the spirit world that something important is about to take place.

Well, now you got me curious! What could this encounter possibly mean? Place your best bets, friends!

Have you seen a hawk up close? Or any other wildlife that usually avoids humans?


  1. I haven’t seen a hawk that close, but I do see them all the time. They swoop around because there is a hayfield below us, and that’s where they find all their snacks! They are HUGE. I love watching them just float around on the breeze, it’s almost like they are playing. Maybe they are!

    1. I love watching them float around too… they’re so graceful!

  2. I LOVE birds of prey. They are my favorite things on the planet, I probably have a peregrine falcon tattoo on my arm. :-)

    1. Supercool to watch for sure!

  3. Yes, we’ve had an up close visit from a hawk. Several years ago the whole family was over at my husband’s parents’ house, and a hawk had killed a squirrel and was happy to plop down in their neighbor’s yard and feast on his prey. On the one hand it was, er, graphic but on the other hand it was fascinating and we couldn’t not watch. It stayed there for a quite a long time.

    1. Oh, that was quite the encounter, Birchie!

  4. Oh that’s amazing, San! Like you, I would wonder if it’s in trouble somehow. Either confused or driven away from its normal habitat.
    In Cape Town, we have an owl that lives in a tree opposite our balcony. We call him Cyril. He’s been living there for the last few years and seems quite happy. I read up on on owls and seeing one up close is a sign of imminent death… fortunately, that has happened yet! :-)

  5. We have had one or two on our back fence over the years, always kind of amazing. Great pictures!

  6. We have hawks around here. They like to nest in the forest behind the house. They are amazing yet menacing to see. Your photo is great.

  7. Feedly just delivered a bunch of your posts today, so I’m late to say wow look at that hawk in your yard! I have not seen one that close-up. Though I have eaten at a Cooper’s Hawk restaurant, if that counts? I have seen osprey somewhat close, but not that close. Sometimes one will come along with a fish and sit on a railing on the building next door to eat it.

  8. Oh this is so great.
    In our old apartment we had a raptors couple (I never managed to identify it correctly buzzard or hawk) that landed multiply times on a chimney opposite our balcony. I sat for hours taking photos. One day when I was not home my husband was in the kitchen that had a window to our balcony and the bird landed on the railing. He wasn’t able to snatch a picture. I am still sad I missed that.

    Yesterday we had a raptor circle over our terrace. It was standing in flight so it was hunting something. I have never seen it before but I hope it comes back. Couldn’t identify yet.

  9. They are such cool birds! I see them quite often, but from a distance, and I always have to stop and admire them.

  10. Wow that is so cool! What a gorgeous bird! A couple of summers ago I was on a call in one of the offices on my floor at work and a peregrine falcon landed outside the window. It was so cool to see it up close like that. Its talons were quite impressive. Our other exciting bird encounter is when we see a blue heron in the creek by our house. It doesn’t happen often but the boys get excited when they see him. They have named him Harry.

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