Sisters Country birds


Last updated 9/26/2023 at 9:57am

Photo by Douglas Beall

Cooper's Hawk

The Cooper's Hawk [Accipiter cooperii], was named after naturalist William Cooper of the New York Museum, and inhabits woodland areas, where their diet consists of birds (95 percent) and small mammals (25 percent). This of course varies depending on the season and area hunted. These mid-sized hawks at maturity are 14-17 inches tall and weigh 16-24 ounces. The females are 1/3 larger than the males. They are referred to as "chicken hawks" "blue darter," or "swift hawk"," and were fiercely hunted until the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was amended in 1972 to protect owls and hawks.

The Cooper's Hawk will hide in trees and wait for opportunities to dive quickly onto their prey, often crashing through branches to finally capture their quarries. Specimens of this hawk have been found with numerous broken and healed chest bones caused by this reckless hunting style.

The nest of the Cooper's Hawk is normally found within the tree canopy 25-50 feet high and often will use mistletoe clumps as nesting sites. Two to six bluish-white eggs are laid,which incubate for 30-36 days ,and fledging takes place in approximately five to seven weeks. This hawk is a common visitor to our bird feeders in search of an easy meal. Green Ridge is used as a migration route during spring and fall. A group of Cooper's Hawks is referred to as a "boil," a "kettle," or a "cast."


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