A Golden Eagle wheels low looking for an easy meal at a banding station - Photo by Mike Werner  

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HAWK CLIFF FOUNDATION

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Cooper's Hawk
(Accipiter cooperii)

Migration Timeframe:

Migration for Cooper's Hawks begins in early September, increasing as the month progresses and peaking by mid-October. Numbers slowly decline during the second part of October and all through November.  Very few are counted in December. Juvenile birds leave first, and females precede males of each by a minimum of several days, although with some overlap. The average overall distance traveled  is probably greater for females than males, yet males will sometimes travel far south.



Year

Peak Week

Avg

2002-2007 Oct 20-26 114

Year

Peak Week

Count

2008 Oct 13-19 71

 

Year

Earliest Obs

Count

Year

Latest Obs

Count

2002-2007 Aug 31 2007 2 2002-2007 Nov 14 2006 1
2008 Sep 09 2 2008 Nov 21 3

 

Where to Watch:

All accipiters tend to pass through The Cliff area along the tree lines or sneaking along the cliff. Their flight level is often lower compared to most of the other raptors. The best views of Cooper's Hawks are usually right at "Sharpie Alley" (just south of the ravine) much like the Sharpies. Farther north (past the intersection at Dexter Line) Cooper's Hawks can be seen cruising and hunting along the tree lines to the right and left of the fields to the east

 

High Counts:

There were no new records set for Cooper's Hawk for the 2008 season.


1-Year 

Count

1-Month

Count

2007

637

Oct 2003

480

1-Day

Count

1-Hour

Count

Oct 06 1986

276 Oct 25 2006 27

 

Yearly Totals:

The 2008 yearly total for Coops fell well short of both the 5-yr and the 10-year averages (averages are based on 1998-2007 and 2003-2007 counts).


Year

Count

Year

Count

Year

Count

1995 402 2000 239 2005 584
1996 392 2001 263 2006 630
1997 423 2002 395 2007 637
1998 156 2003 583 2008 280
1999 359 2004 433 2009 N/A

10-Yr Avg

5-Yr Avg

428

573

Interesting Facts:

  • Cooper's Hawk are sexually dimorphic with marginal or no overlap.

  • Males are nearly always smaller than females.

  • Cooper's Hawks (and most accipiters in general) are not seen in any numbers until the air has warmed up a bit and currents are prevalent, typically around 0900 hours...with Cooper's usually starting to move later in the morning than Sharpies

  • Some Cooper's Hawks winter in Ontario and if you have bird feeders you might spot one coming to get a small bird as a meal.

  • Southern latitude birds are usually sedentary, while Northern birds may stay in their territories or move farther south from breeding and natal areas.

  • Cooper's Hawks will generally shun any long flights over open water, but they may make short water crossings, (e.g. Florida Keys).

  • Some migrants winter south of the Mexican border traveling as far as the southern parts of Central America and into Columbia

 

 

 


An immature Cooper's showing its first adult tail feather - Photo by Dave Brown

An immature Cooper's provides a great in-flight look - Photo by Mark Cunningham

Click on chart image for enlarged version

Click on chart image for enlarged version 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Created: 2007-04-27   2007 Hawk Cliff Foundation  -  All rights reserved