Like other predatory birds, this young Cooper’s Hawk, resting near my bird feed station, let me get quite close before leaving to let the Mourning Dove and White-crowned Sparrow flocks return.
Cooper’s Hawks live a variety of habitats throughout Arizona and the United States. They nest in many kinds of trees, but in Arizona, they prefer Fremont Poplar, the dominant tree species on Coldwater Farm. Perhaps this is why the highest concentration of reported nests (Corman and Wise-Gervaise 2005) is in central Arizona where I live. I see this hawk often, but not as often as its smaller cousin, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, the constant terror of the local sparrow crowd.
Cooper’s Hawks catch dove in my yard, and they are known as Chicken Hawks even though they are smaller than most chickens. I know of no loses to this hawk by our local egg producers even though their small flocks spend their days outdoors foraging for bugs and seeds. They keep dogs, and perhaps wise hawks know that they would supplement the evening’s can of dog food if they tried to eat a fat chicken on the ground.
Coopers Hawk References
Corman, T.E., and C. Wise-Gervais, Eds. 2005. Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 636 p.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Cooper’s Hawk.