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Cooper's Hawk

Accipiter cooperii

Accipiter cooperii photo © by Michael Plagens

This Cooper's was taking a bird's bath near sycamore-cottonwood woodlands in Sta. Cruz Co., Arizona, USA. July 2010.

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Cooper's Hawks have a preference for wooded areas and so are very frequent in riparian woodlands such as those dominated by Arizona Sycamore. Occasionally they hunt in the cities or near farms where there are trees and bird feeders. Cooper's hunt primarily for smaller birds up to the size of city pigeons. They build their nests in the crowns of large stream-side trees. Trespassing hikers are vocally scolded especially during nesting season.

Sharp-shinned Hawk is very similar and occurs in the same areas, however, it prefers more open country away from dense trees. Cooper's is usually larger, but female sharpies are often larger than male cooper's. Sharpies have a squared-off tail vs. cooper's rounded tail; this trait is often hard to see. If confusion remains it is often safer just to identify these birds as Accipiters.

Year-round Resident - Spring/Summer Breeder

More Information:

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 12 August 2012