May 17

Cooper’s Hawk, a bird of prey

A Cooper’s Hawk is a bird of prey and is often found in the canyons of San Diego, like Rose Canyon. I’m going to tell you about Cooper’s Hawks–where they live, what they eat, and what they look like. I chose this animal because I think they are interesting and amazing birds.

Cooper’s Hawks can be found anywhere between Southern Canada and Northern Mexico. Some Cooper’s Hawks spend the winter in Panama. The Cooper’s Hawk used to not live in cities. Now they live in cities, in the woodlands, and mountain forests.

Cooper’s Hawks vary in size depending on the region they are in. The ones from Western North America are smaller than the ones from the East. A Cooper’s Hawk is a medium sized hawk. The male is smaller than the female. Males weighs between 7 to 14 ounces which is less than one pound.  Females are between 1-2 pounds.  Males are 14-18 inches tall.  Females are 17-20 inches tall.  These hawks have short wings and long tails.  They have sharp talons (sharp claws) and hooked beaks for catching and eating prey. They have brown spots on a white tummy. Adults have red eyes and juveniles have yellow eyes with a brown cap or head. In the hawk family they are medium sized compared to other hawks.

Cooper’s Hawks can eat lots of different kinds of small animals like rats, mice, and other rodents. They also eat small animals like rabbits and squirrels. They mostly eat small to medium sized birds like a house wren. When a hawk sees an animal that is flying, it swoops down, grabs, and brings the prey back to the nest. After catching an animal, it squeezes the prey with its sharp talons until the animal dies then the hawk eats it.

The Cooper’s Hawk is a very interesting bird that can be found right in your backyard. They can be helpful by eating your rats. They are fun to watch. If you are very lucky, you might see one swoop down and catch a bird in mid-air.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Vicki DeLoach via Compfight Cooper’s Hawks