accipiter (hawk) cooperii (in honor of William Cooper, of New York, who shot the bird which Charles Lucien Bonaparte described for science in 1828)
Sunday, April 1, 1984 — 11:45 am
Patagonia, Arizona — Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Sanctuary
This is one of the “can’t miss” birding spots in North America, but my first impression was not overwhelmingly excitement. A dinky, muddy little creek winds through scruffy woods. It looks a lot like a Cook County forest preserve. But it is one of the only patches of this type of habitat left in southern Arizona, and it is a magnet for birds.
We left Dad whittling by the van and walked the trails. A serious flood had swept through the valley the previous year and things were looking scruffier than usual. Near an old bridge abutment, the creek widened out into a little pool. We were enjoying the view when we saw two hawks zip through the cottonwoods, one chasing the other. The chaser flew to a limb of a tree and sat for a few minutes, calling loudly. It sat upright on the branch and gave us a good view. I suspect the chasee may have been an immature Gray Hawk. (I saw three there a little while later.)