Hawk family (Accipitridae)
About the size of a crow, 15 ½” long, 28” wingspan. Male is smaller than female. Short rounded wings and long narrow tail – these traits help the bird maneuver in thick forests. Bluish-gray back, light below with reddish-brown barring.
Nests in extensive forests. Nest is a platform of sticks, placed in a tree 10 to 70 feet above the ground. Eggs are pale blue-green with dark marks. Clutch size – 3 to 4 eggs. Young leave nest at 4 to 5 weeks.
Vocal during breeding season. Loud repeated “kek kek kek kek” given during alarm or during pair interaction.
Accipiter, Latin for “hawk”; cooperii, named in 1828 after ornithologist William C. Cooper.
In the Nature Park:
Year-round resident. We’re not sure is Cooper’s Hawks nest in the Nature Park – they are quiet and cryptic – but the Nature Park forests provide ideal habitat for this bird.
Once known as the “chicken hawk”, this bird was heavily persecuted in the mid-1900s. Populations also declined due to DDT contamination causing decreased eggshell thickness and egg breakage. Populations are now recovering.