Immature Cooper's Hawk at Huntington Central Park in Huntington Beach
Video from Nat Bel.
The adult Cooper's has almost horizontal orange-brown streaking. The juvenile has vertical brown streaks. The juveniles can be loud when they are recently fledged, and vociferously beg to be fed.
Like many hawks, the Cooper's female is larger than the male. The Cooper's is very similar to the smaller Sharp-shinned Hawk which shows up mostly during migration. The main differences are the size, the heftier feet of the Cooper's Hawk, a dark cap of the Cooper's versus a hood, and the sometimes seen crest-like feather on the back of the Cooper's flat head. For a good guide to the differences between the two accipiters, see the Cornell University's Project Feeder Watch for a detailed guide to the differences.
Cooper's Hawks are well-known for protecting their nests. El Dorado Nature Center had to close its two-mile trail this spring (2007) due to a highly protective pair of Cooper's Hawks who swooped down on people walking by and to scare them away from the nest. To protect the hawks and the people, El Dorado Nature Center closed off that section. Below is a shot of a juvenile Cooper's Hawk this August who was calling loudly for its parents at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. Notice the flat top on the head.
|Immature Cooper's Hawk at El Dorado Park in Long Beach|
|And the smaller father who has an unusual mark on his belly.|
|A fledgling with tufts of down still sticking out from between its feathers.|
|Another fledgling watching the gawkers.|
|Cooper's Hawk eating a Bullock's Oriole in Morongo|
Any backyard feeder will attract Cooper's Hawks whose main diet consists of birds. If that happens, take your feeders in for about two weeks. The Cooper's will have moved on by then. So when you are out birding watch for the Cooper's Hawk. It is often noisy. Unlike the equally noisy Red-Shouldered Hawk, it has solid wings and a dark cap. Have fun birding in Orange County.
Nice video of a Cooper's Hawk. Notice the dark cap rather than a hood that goes down the back like the Sharp-shinned.
OC Birder Girl Links
Great video of the examination of an immature Cooper's Hawk who hit the window of an office building.
Note that this post was updated on 12/09/2013.
Links to Sites about Cooper's Hawks
A short, but good articles that describes Cooper's Hawks behavior.
Other Cooper's Hawks Links
Project Feeder Watch--Comparison of Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks
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