We’ve had visitors in our backyard recently, and while they’re beautiful, they’re not visitors we want to have for an extended stay. I’ll explain. These visitors are a pair of Cooper’s hawks. Our yard is edged with ten massive pine trees along with two towering curly willows, a mature english walnut tree and several young blue spruce. Needless to say our backyard is host to a bevy of small song birds and squirrels. We enjoy watching their antics and listening to their song and chatter. At least we had up until the visitors came. Now most have gone into hiding, or have become snack food for the hawks. But the hawks are not to blame. Urban sprawl is to blame. We live in an area that up until recently had miles of wild uninhabited open spaces. Now, those areas are being bulldozed to put in more subdivisions and shopping centers. To many the endless stretches of sagebrush, woodlands and rock areas where we live have no beauty, and are seen as nothing more than opportunities for moneymaking sprawl. The reality is that these spaces are, or were home to a bounty of wildlife, such as Cooper’s hawks. Yes, development will continue to happen, but we need to be smarter and more responsible with it.