Species group: Birds of Prey
Other common names: Chicken Hawk
Scientific name: Accipiter cooperii
Cooper's Hawk is North America's mid-sized Accipiter, with short wings and a long tail that allow it to chase flying prey at high speed through the forest. As a New World species, they were unknown to traditional falconry, but they have become highly valued in modern times because of their agility and boldness. This adaptable woodland hunting hawk is capable of taking advantage of relatively small patches of forest, including urban and suburban parks. Thus, it has become a familiar "hawk" to many North Americans, since it breeds over a wide area of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and it may migrate as far south as Panama in the winter.
Because of the licensing and expertise required to be a responsible owner of a bird of prey, the following information is offered only as a hint of what you will need to learn to work with Cooper's Hawks. There's no substitute for hands-on training, which we strongly recommend that you pursue before trying to acquire any bird of prey.
Adults possess blue-gray upperparts and beautiful rufous and white barred underparts. Females are much larger than males. Although distinguishing wild Cooper's from lookalike Sharp-shinned Hawks can present a challenge to birders, falconers and captive breeders shouldn't confuse them because they don't overlap in size.. Even the largest Sharp-shin female will always be shorter than the smallest Cooper's male.
Male:: 341 grams (12 oz.)
Female: 528 grams (19 oz.)
Male: 39 centimeters (15 in.)
Female: 45 centimeters (18 in.)
15 - 20 years
Behavior / temperament:
The Cooper's Hawk can be a tenacious hunter, and if need be, it will make use of its long legs to go into thick cover on foot to capture concealed prey like quail. It is fearless and willing to take very large prey for its size, such as grouse or rabbits. However, that same fearlessness means that they can be difficult and extremely assertive or aggressive birds, so they are generally recommended to the more experienced falconer.
Cooper's Hawks are well-adapted to temperament climates and can tolerate more warmth than more northerly birds like the Goshawk, but make sure these forest birds have protection from direct sunlight. Like most other birds of prey, they are water bathers and will need a bath for the purpose.
The Cooper's Hawk is a carnivore that needs to consume some whole prey in order to allow its digestive system to work properly. In the wild, this talented predator often captures small woodland birds. In captivity, it has done well on legal (unprotected) introduced wild bird species such as House sparrows, European starlings, and feral pigeons. They should also be provided with water.
Written by Elaine Radford
falconry birds, forest birds, extraordinary ability
low tolerance, hellbent beasts, weakwilled falconer, individual attention
Moderately trainable hawk
Moderately trainable hawk, great forest hunter
Coopers hawks are forest birds, using techniques similar to the sharp-shinned hawk to trap their prey. They hide in thickets and concealed areas to ambush birds. The bird I trained was christened Robinsbane for its extraordinary ability to ambush unsuspecting Robins. These birds are fun to train, as they require lots of individual attention and a significant ability to adapt. It is necessary to treat a Cooper's hawk like an individual and respond to what it wants. If it hunts badly from the fist, hunt it from a tree.
Constant weight and diet control and monitoring is important with Cooper's hawks. They’re small birds, with very narrowing ranges in diet and a low tolerance for changes in metabolism. This means that they're not a good bird for a novice. Too many Cooper's hawks have died because their owner could not maintain their metabolism sufficiently.
Coopers hawks are not hell-bent beasts of satan (like I think sharp-shinned hawks are), but they are difficult. Requiring significant labor, Coopers aren't for the weak-willed falconer, but are very rewarding for those willing to push it through..
From vintners Aug 6 2015 1:57PM