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Cooper's Hawk guarding her nest, Costa Mesa, Ca.
I was lucky enough to stumble on her nest while at work. Once I found the nest was active I visited it everyday I worked and soon saw that there were 4 surviving young. One has since fledged.
The first day I grabbed my camera to see if I could get a shot I was greeted by a very protective mother. She would do kamakazee nose dives at me from the nest at full velocity with her wings back then suddenly veer up just feet from my head. Feeling the wind from her wings and my heart racing I decided to give her some space and shoot from a distance.
I'll tell you that A Cooper's Hawk looks much less inviting when the tallons are coming at your face at a high rate of speed. Needless to say I had a zero success rate at capturing her diving at me. But like this image I got some great close ups as she perched on near by branches after her scare tactics.