Cinnamon’s Big Night

Well, it was a very exciting night last night for Cinnamon. We went to watch Non Birding Bill do his children's theater show at a park near where we live. She was doing well and I was keeping an eye on all the people who were letting their dogs off leash when I noticed a distant Cooper's hawk. The hawk was bombing some smaller birds on the other side of the park. Cinnamon didn't seem to notice (she usually doesn't--when I've taken her to The Raptor Center, she seems oblivious to all the predatory leering). As the crowds of families assembled Cinnamon tested the limits of the leash to check them out and to see if they had any treats for her.

I love this photo. that little boy wants to pet her, but even he senses the disapproval. She did eventually relent and many kids got to pet her. However, once the show got underway, I heard a few warbler alarm calls and right over the crowd, right over my head, barely to the tops of the trees flew a Cooper's hawk!

Cinnamon did what I call her Dirty Dozen walk, where she slinks as low to the ground as she can and made her way to me and then hunkered. I'd like to think it was because she sees me as safe, but perhaps she was trying to camouflage herself with my pink and brown skirt? It's interesting that she sensed the danger this time. Was it because the hawk was so low, is she finally noticing outdoor bird warning calls? Does she notice the difference between the tethered birds at The Raptor Center from a free flying one?

The Cooper's landed in the tree in the above photo at about 11 o'clock towards the back. As soon as it landed we heard a red squirrel give it's angry trill. I never saw it leave and Cinnamon sat glued to that spot next to my leg for most of the performance. Towards the end she relaxed and meandered about again. I don't think the hawk was making a series pass for Cinnamon. There were far too many people about for it to make a serious dive at her. I do think it was taking a look, because all raptors are opportunists. Another reason I'm glad I keep her on her leash.