The Cooper’s Hawk bird, also called a Chicken Hawk. can be a friend or a foe. If you are a gardener and want to control nuisance birds, small mammals, and rodents, then the Cooper’s Hawk is your ally. If you are a chicken farmer or have a backyard bird feeder, this hawk is definitely a foe. It is one of 25 species of hawks in the United States.
This swift and skillful flier is a medium-sized hawk, whose habitat is common woodlands, and woods. You can see Cooper’s Hawks as they hunt their prey from the air. They can be seen soaring above the woodlands or swiftly flying through dense vegetation, ready to swoop down upon their prey. Contact with their prey is very fast, nothing short of a high-speed collision. The birds can fracture bones in their chest in the collision. You may also find them sitting on a branch, awaiting unsuspecting birds at your bird feeder. Related to the Sharp-Shinned Hawk, the Cooper’s Hawk lives up to 12 years. They are native to North America, ranging from Southern Canada to Northern Mexico.
Other Names: Blue Darter, Chicken Hawk, Hen Hawk, Swift Hawk, Striker
Did You Know? A baby hawk is called an “Eyas”. It comes from a French word meaning “Nestling”.
Coopers Hawks live up to 12 years in the wild. Hawks are members of the Raptor family. Females are larger than males. They are solitary birds. The hawks come together for mating in the Spring. Hawks perform a mating ritual called a “Sky Dance”. Females lay 2 to 5 eggs a year. The egg incubation period is 35 days. Mating pairs stay together during the hatching of the eggs. After the chicks leave the nest, they separate to their own territories.
Attention backyard bird watchers. The Cooper’s Hawk prey upon birds, including your backyard birds. Their eyesight is five times better than humans. Hawks can see a mouse from over a mile away.
Cooper’s Hawk diet consists primarily of small and medium-sized birds. This includes your favorite backyard songbirds, Chicken, Blue Jays, Robins, Thrushes, Starlings, Pigeons, Mourning Doves, and others. These hawks will also eat even bats. They are known to rob nests of eggs and hatchlings. Additionally, these hawks are known to eat frogs, insects, and snakes.
The Cooper’s Hawk kills their prey, by continually squeezing the prey with its sharp talons. They will also drown their prey.
In turn, the Copper’s Hawk is prey to larger hawks, eagles, and the Great Horned Owl.