About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Coopers's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
Order: FALCONIFORMES Family: Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Description
A medium sized hawk with short wings (2.5 foot wingspan) and long rounded tail with several black bands. It has rusty horizontal bars on the belly and a slate blue gray back. The female (17-20 inches) is larger than the male (15-17inches). Nestlings have gray eyes that become yellow at one year of age and dark red later.

Behavior
Cooper's hawks are predators primarily of birds and small mammals. When hunting, Cooper's hawks usually perch in a hidden location during the day and watch for prey. They wait until their prey is unaware of their presence, then quickly swoop down and seize it. Mourning Doves, starlings, chipmunks, and squirrels are common prey for Cooper's hawks. Their short, rounded wings make them very maneuverable flyers in dense, forests and even follow prey up evergreens. These hawks also pursue prey on the ground, half running and half flying.

General
The Cooper’s Hawk was first described in 1828 by Charles Bonaparte, a French naturalist and ornithologist who was the nephew of Napoleon. It was named after William Cooper, who collected the first specimen. A group of hawks is called a "boil", "knot", "spiraling", "stream", and "tower" of hawks.

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