The Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) is a medium-sized bird of prey found in North America. Adult Cooper’s Hawks have a length of around 14 to 20 inches (36 to 51 cm) and a wingspan of approximately 24 to 35 inches (61 to 89 cm). They have a weight range of 7 to 24 ounces (198 to 680 grams), with females being larger than males. Juvenile Cooper’s Hawks are slightly larger and have longer wings and tails than adults.
The Cooper’s Hawk is a distinctive bird of prey with several distinguishing field marks. Adult birds have a dark blue-grey back and a rusty-brown barred breast. They have a rounded tail with dark bands and a white tip, and their wings are relatively short and rounded. Their eyes are large and yellow, and their hooked beaks are sharp and curved. Juvenile birds have brown backs and a heavily streaked breast.
Cooper’s Hawks are migratory birds that breed in the northern parts of North America and winter in the southern parts of the continent. Their breeding range extends from Alaska and Canada to Mexico, and they can be found in a variety of forested habitats, including deciduous and mixed forests. During the winter, they can be found in a variety of habitats, including urban areas, where they prey on birds at backyard bird feeders.
The Cooper’s Hawk is an agile predator that feeds primarily on birds, but will also take small mammals, such as mice and squirrels. They are known for their high-speed pursuits of prey, which they catch in mid-air. Cooper’s Hawks are also known for their adaptability and will take advantage of any available food source, including domestic pigeons and doves. Their hunting behavior has earned them the nickname “chicken hawk” in some areas.
Overall, the Cooper’s Hawk is a fascinating bird of prey that is both an important predator and an impressive sight in flight. With its distinctive field marks, migratory behavior, and hunting habits, the Cooper’s Hawk is a bird that birdwatchers and nature lovers alike will enjoy observing in the wild.