ANSWER: It is always surprising to see such large predatory raptors in our neighborhoods, but this is actually quite common according to the Audubon Society. Cooper’s Hawks can settle wherever there are tall trees for nesting and small birds or mammals to hunt, which might make neighborhood bird feeders look more like a buffet spread to these mighty hunters. 

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cooper’s Hawks have a smaller twin —  the sharp-shinned hawk —  with which they are often confused.

Regardless of which bird you’ve seen, what is most likely in this case is that you have spotted a group of migrating hawks. With winter finally here and food much harder to find, this group was clearly taking advantage of the birds that your feeder attracts. Even though Cooper’s Hawks prefer dove-sized birds more than a sparrow or chickadee, they are well known for lurking around feeders year-round.

A group of 16 hawks would certainly scare off any little songbird, but as long as they have adequate cover from bushes or evergreens, they should be safe. Once the hawks move along, the smaller birds should return. If the hawks return, most sources suggest removing your feeders until the hawks start looking elsewhere for food, at least a few days. 

HI SUN SPOTS: I am looking for a home for a small Baldwin piano. It has been in the family for over 50 years and I would love to donate it to someone with a desire to learn piano, a music teacher or a local non-profit that could make good use of it. Please call 207-539-5076.  

DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Chili Chowder and Kickin’ Cornbread Challenge is being held Jan. 30 from 4-6 p.m. at Monmouth Fish and Game, Rte. 202. You can enter your chili, chowder, or cornbread.

Contact Darlene Sanborn at 933-2557 or 446-6552 or Nancy Ludewig at 933-4677 or 441-7071. Get Cookin’!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I was wondering if you had any information on the Snack Shack that seems to be open in Pettingill park in Auburn? Who is running it? Who does it benefit? What do they have? When are they open? — No Name in Auburn.

ANSWER: The Snack Shack in Pettengill Park’s pond building is privately owned and operated with all proceeds going to the business owner. The hours flex depending on the season according to the Auburn Recreation Department. Unfortunately, the owner could not be reached with the contact information provided for more information.

There is a concession stand during weekend games in the gym with all proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club to support their programs. 

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