The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.
The agile Cooper’s hawk is built for speed. This bird-hunter’s short, powerful wings and long, rudderlike tail make it a nimble flier in thick woods and along hedgerows.
With deadly talons splayed wide, the hawk hits hard. The impact collapses it legs, which creates a vice-like grip for piercing and holding its prey.
Cooper’s hawks dive bomb through forest openings to surprise prey. Sometimes, these clever hawks fly fast from behind trees to sneak attack their next snack.
White-throated sparrows warn their flockmates of a possible attack with a loud Chip! Chip! Other sparrows join the chorus as they all head for cover.
These little sparrows play a good defense by hunkering down in thickets and avoiding open areas where hawks may be on the prowl.
Today, the Cooper’s hawk’s surprise attack was successful. But it’s always a throw of nature’s dice — the Cooper’s hawk captures its prey in only about one out of 10 tries.
Nichole LeClair Terrill