Meet the Neighbourhood Cooper’s Hawk


It’s been a good week for co-operative, uncommon birds. Last week, I posted an article with many photos called Barred Owl in L’Amoreaux Park


This morning, I had this beautiful bird in and around my backyard for over 3 hours.


Anyone with a bird feeder will have this species as an occasional visitor…and it isn’t interested in the sunflower seeds.


The Cooper’s Hawk is a member of the Accipiter family and its principal diet is other birds.


Knowing this, I became concerned when a pair of cardinals landed very close to the concealed hawk.


Can you spot the hawk by the crack in the fence?


Strangely the hawk paid no attention to the cardinals who were themselves unafraid. There must be some truth to a recent suggestion that brightly coloured birds do not taste good. Whenever a house sparrow arrived, the hawk took chase but captured nothing this morning. Last fall, I wrote an article about the Cooper’s Hawk’s hunting habits called:

Murder on the Back Porch



Later, a squirrel arrived to harvest some of our magnolia buds and he quickly chased the hawk away. The hawk soon returned.


Cooper’s Hawks are crow-sized with long tails.

coopershawk-1 (2)

As you can see, they are slate grey above and finely rust-barred below.


The tail is rounded at the tip and this is a good way to differentiate it from the smaller, square-at -the-tip-of-the-tail Sharp-Shinned Hawk. The species was named after the naturalist William Cooper (1798 – 1864), one of the founders of the New York Lyceum of Natural History.


A few days later, I found the hawk enjoying a sparrow meal in our snowy backyard.




Miles Hearn



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