Ruffled Feathers

Coping with a cooper’s hawk


What: Audubon Society presents "Seattle's Adaptable Urban Cooper's Hawks"

When: 7 pm Tue., Oct. 24

Where: Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St.

Cost: $5

Info: http://www.whatcommuseum.org

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The mystery started when one of our free-range hens turned up dead behind our garden shed with a small puncture wound on her breast and half her feathers plucked out.

During our previous seven years of urban chicken ranching, the Lady of the House and I have scraped a few savagely mangled Rhode Island Reds off our lawn, but we’d never encountered a carcass so fully intact and relatively unblemished as this one.

“It looks like some sort of tiny surgeon poked a tiny scalpel into her heart and then went OCD on her plumage,” conjectured the Lady of the House as she handed me a jumbo-sized compost bag.

“Could well be,” I nodded, squatting down to scoop up a fistful of quills. “At least with her wings not torn off and her head still attached, we can be fairly certain the culprit wasn’t a raccoon.”
“Say,” my lady surmised, peering thoughtfully into the weeds beneath a short stack of corrugated metal roofing panels that had been leaning up against the house since I’d put them there two summers before. “Do you think that something could have hid beneath those panels waiting to ambush our girl?”

“Hmmm,” I pondered, noting the perilous proximity of said poultry carcass to my derelict roofing panels. “Now that you mention it, the midday shadows under there do seem to offer ideal concealment for a little surgeon to hide.”

Although our subsequent examination of the crime scene revealed no more clues to help substantiate our ambush theory, we couldn’t find enough contrary evidence to discount it either.

Short on leads and stumped on the case, Miss Sherlock and I cordoned off the death zone with chicken wire to help secure our precious flock from further depredation and promptly repaired to the kitchen for some restorative Sunday afternoon brunch.

Oddly enough, about half an hour later, the murderer—an urban Cooper’s Hawk—decided to reveal itself in all its crow-sized, accipiter glory. Seated at the butcher block while polishing off my second round of bacon and waffles, I caught the fleeting form of a tawny winged creature glinting through a side window as it swooped boldly and with a determined air of defiance into the bristling, seemingly impenetrable canopy of our neighbor’s trellised rose bush.

By the time we raced onto the back deck, this intrepid, methodically ambitious raptor had advanced all the way to the crown of our garden-shed roof where—perched like some kind of omnipotent weather vane—it seemed to take joy in taunting us.

Then, just as we realized that we needed to protect our flock, it dove off the shed, darted between some bamboo and went gliding across the lawn to alight on our plum tree. From there it went straight to the chicken-coop roof—where I had to menacingly brandish a broom at it to get it to leave.

I chased the hawk to the fence and then to the woodpile until it finally shot across the alley into huge pine tree, where it blurred seamlessly back into shadows until all we could see were needles and cones. As far as we know, it’s still out there.

Cash Spell
More Outdoors...
Storm Warning
Blessings of a blowdown

When a limb from a century-old tree hits a house, it feels like it’s been rammed by a Humvee.

I know this because during a gnarly windstorm in mid-October, the stately maple that has been gracing the second lot of my front yard since long before I moved to Bellingham’s York neighborhood…

more »
Mountain Man
Remembering Fred Beckey

Perhaps no human is more associated with the untamed allure of the North Cascades than mountaineer Fred Beckey, who died last week at the age of 94.

In the celebratory, life-spanning book Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite North American Climbs, his friends and climbing partners lavished Beckey…

more »
Snow Report
Winter is coming

One might think a deep drop in day and nighttime temperatures is enough to proclaim that “winter is coming,” but in Whatcom County the changing of the seasons can also be sussed out by the slew of snow-related films that come to town.

The flakes will first fly from 7:30-9:30pm Thurs., Nov.…

more »
Home for the Holidays

5:00pm|Ferndale Events Center

The 39 Steps

7:00pm|Sehome High School Little Theatre

Little Women

7:00pm|Ferndale High School

Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School

Romeo, You Idiot!

7:30pm|Heiner Theater


7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Craft Bazaar

9:00am|American Legion Post #43

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Hot Cider & Cool Art

10:00am|Morgan Block Studios

Used Book Sale

10:00am|Everson Library

Red Barn Handpicked Holiday Market

12:00pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Holiday Gifts from the Kitchen

3:00pm|Lynden Library, Ferndale Library

It's Where the Sidewalk Ends

6:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

New Music, New Dance

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

The Big Short One-Act Festival

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Backyard Brawl

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

VFW Breakfast

8:00am|VFW Hall

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Pancake Feed

8:00am|VFW Post 1585

Holiday Bazaar

9:00am|Hillcrest Chapel

Christmas in the Woods

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

NSEA Work Party

9:00am|Acme Elementary School

Turkey Trot

9:00am|Squalicum Creek Park

Climate Reality

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

South Fork Winterfest

10:00am|Van Zandt Community Hall

Fall Gardening

10:00am|Lynden Library

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Lynden Book Club

10:30am|Everson Library

Salmon Sighting

12:00pm|Haynie Creek

Conquering Writer's Block

2:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Fishboy Holiday Show

2:00pm|FishBoy Gallery

NaNoWriMo and Indie Publishing

3:00pm|Everson Library

Skagit Wine & Beer Festival


Homeless Summit and Cold Weather Giveaway

3:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

i.e. artists talk

3:30pm|i.e. gallery

Small Works Opening

4:00pm|Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park

Smith & Vallee Artist Talk

4:00pm| Smith & Vallee Gallery

WA 129 Poetry Reading

6:00pm|Maple Hall

Giving from the Heart

7:00pm|Depot Art Center

A Light in the Darkness

7:00pm|Church of the Assumption

Welcome Home Celebration

7:00pm|Village Books

Ruach Consort

7:00pm|St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Eagles Hall

Michael Kaeshammer

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Legends of the Blues V

7:30pm|Byrnes Performing Arts Center

Peter and the Star Catcher

7:00pm|Squalicum High School


7:30pm|Mount Baker High School

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Bellingham Repertory Dance's Emerge

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Rexville Grange Holiday Art Show

10:00am|Rexville Grange

Cheese Fest

10:00am|Everybody's Store

Holiday Farmers Market

10:00am|Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Getting in on the act


Sound of Music Singalong

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

A Musical Thanksgiving

2:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Harmony from Discord with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The 25th Hour

4:00pm|Village Books

Southside Community Meal

5:00pm|Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Way North Comedy Showcase

7:00pm|Farmstrong Brewing Co.

Rutie Dornfeld, John Miller

7:00pm|YWCA Ballroom

Kaeshammer Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am|Meridian Street

Wander + Camber Beer Dinner

6:30pm|Camber Cafe

Rocks & Gems

7:00pm|Bloedel Donovan Community Building


9:30pm|Green Frog

see our complete calendar »

Kaeshammer Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market