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Home Backyard Bird Guide America's Top Backyard Birds America's Top Backyard Birds - Eastern North America Cooper's Hawk
Cooper's Hawk

Description

Cooper's Hawks can be found throughout the United States.  During the nesting season, this raptor can also be found in southern parts of Canada.  Cooper's Hawks prefer wooded habitat, and may be seen in parks, fields, and backyards.

The female Cooper's Hawk is larger than the male.  She is on average 17 inches in length and weighs between 12 and 24 ounces.  The male is on average 15 inches in length and weighs between 8 and 15 ounces.  Cooper's Hawks are medium-sized hawks with rounded wings and long, rounded tails.  The adult Cooper's Hawks backs and wings are blue-gray and their underparts are reddish-brown.  Their tails have dark bands.

The male takes two weeks to build the nest, which is commonly placed 25 to 50 feet high in pine, oak, and spruce trees.  The nest is made of sticks and is lined with bark flakes and green twigs.  The nest is around 27 inches in diameter.  For about 90 days, the male provides most of the food for the female and young until the nestlings fledge.

The flight style of a Cooper's Hawk consists of a few strong wingbeats followed by short glides.  However, when flying after their prey, the flight pattern becomes fast and powerful as they dart through vegetation.

A Copper's Hawk's diet is mainly composed of birds.  Cooper's Hawks tend to eat medium-sized birds including American Robins, European Starlings, and Mourning Doves.  Cooper's Hawks sometimes eat chipmunks, mice, and squirrels.

Similar Species

Broad-winged Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, and Sharp-shinned Hawk

 

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