adult male coopers hawk Cooper’s Hawks
                                                           Accipiter cooperii
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The Cooper's hawk population in North America is an estimated 100,000 to one million birds.

A Life History

Tracking

In many locations throughout the USA and Canada, the young are taken from the nest for banding when they are little more than three weeks old. In a nest of five observed by the author, one of the chicks stood tall with wings spread in defensive display, while another collapsed at the bottom of the nest trying to make himself invisible. Moments after the banding, all young hawks were moving about the nest like nothing had happened.

Adults are sometimes trapped for banding using a mist net and lure (often either a live or stuffed great horned owl). Juveniles may be trapped using a bal-chatri trap and then banded or fitted with a transmitter for tracking.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary’s 67-year annual average count for Cooper’s hawks is 337. The ten year average count is 739 (years 1992-2001). Although the numbers have trended upward from early twentieth century to the present, the count was below the ten-year average for the past four years.


YearCount
2011558
2012585
2013482
2014595

These lower counts are suspected to be due to other factors in addition to warmer-than-average winters. Their data suggest that the hawks are becoming more urban, and able to survive without migrating, or migrating shorter distances.

Hawk Mountain estimates the population of Cooper’s hawks in North America to be between 100,000 and one million birds. The best time to see Cooper’s hawks at Hawk Mountain is early to mid-October.

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