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Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Accipiter
Species: cooperii


This bird has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
, British Columbia
Kelowna, British Columbia
Canoga Park, California
Cardiff By The Sea, California
Fallbrook, California
Hinkley, California
Menifee, California
Modesto, California
San Francisco, California
Santa Cruz, California
Stamford, Connecticut
Brooksville, Florida
Clermont, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hudson, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Quincy, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Batavia, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Oak Park, Illinois
Rock Falls, Illinois
Tinley Park, Illinois
Coatesville, Indiana
Fishers, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Des Moines, Iowa
Yale, Iowa
Bowling Green, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Buckfield, Maine
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Loreto, Massachusetts
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Ypsilanti, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wayzata, Minnesota
Conway, Missouri
Marlton, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
Lake Grove, New York
Wading River, New York
Concord, North Carolina
Huntersville, North Carolina
Chillicothe, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Sandusky, Ohio
Tipp City, Ohio
Gold Hill, Oregon
Bath, Pennsylvania
Kintnersville, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Roscoe, Pennsylvania
Hartsville, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Summertown, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Euless, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
New Braunfels, Texas
Plano, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Olympia, Washington
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Jan 25, 2019, ParkerOak from Oak Park, IL wrote:

It was snowing one late June morning, or maybe like in my youth someone was burning trash and ashes were falling from the sky. It was too warm for snow, no smokey odor. I followed the drifting fluff back up to a tree limb over the parkway and there was a Cooper's hawk with a song bird pinned in its talons as it plucked its feathers in preparation for eating it. Seeing something for the first time attunes you to looking for it again, and so I began to catch sight of a larger bird swiftly alighting in a tree and with binoculars saw the magnificent coloration on its breast, splotches of brown on off white feathers. I can't say it became a common visitor, but certainly not rare. I saw it often enough that I began to recognize its call, a kaaak-kaaak-kaaak louder and unlike the other smaller... read more


On Oct 24, 2016, luella10 from Modesto, CA wrote:

We have a Cooper's Hawk who hangs out in our yard from time to time. As others have noted, we know he's around when the other birds get very quiet! Sometimes he sits on our backyard fence, which is about 15 feet from the patio door, waiting for some prey to show itself. I have watched him catch a sparrow in flight. In our part of the country Cooper's Hawks are also called Sparrow Hawks. We don't begrudge him of any of his kills. He's part of the ecology of our neighborhood.


On Jan 30, 2016, lancer23 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

The first time I saw this bird was when it caught a sparrow and eating it on my neighbor's tree. The backyard was suddenly quietly. The hawk really swallowed the bird whole and left nothing except only a couple of feathers. My vegetable garden was plaques by birds, mainly sparrows and juncos that eat all my seeds and young tender seedlings. The hawk is helping me otherwise all my vegetable will be nibbled to death. I lived close to the park and the small bird population is scary large and they are not afraid of people. Imagine a huge flock of small birds like in the Hitchcock movie swarming down in the yard and I constantly have to throw objects to scare them away.


On Aug 5, 2013, Virgogardener from Lake Grove, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've always loved predatory birds and I was blessed last year when a pair of Cooper's built a nest and raised their 2 young in the woods on our property. It was amazing and the best part was the squirrel population was controlled. I would sit outside in the morning drinking my coffee and one of the juveniles was always watching me from a branch just above me. Their courting dance was amazing. I can't say enough about what a great experience this was to witness. They have since moved but they are in my yard every morning and evening.


On Aug 13, 2012, Chillybean from (Zone 5a) wrote:

When we first met a Cooper's, I was in awe seeing it perch outside our bird view window. It was seen only the once that winter. We didn't know much about him at the time, but did notice it was awfully quiet at the feeders.

By the next winter, having learned more of the hawk, we used to go out and chase it off when ever we saw it near our place. Especially after seeing several Junco feather piles. The Dark-eyed Junco is our favorite winter bird.

That following spring, our opinion changed somewhat. We didn't see the kill (Not sure I'd ever wish to), but it had supper when we did. A child noticed it eating when he glanced out the dining room window. It had a larger bird- maybe grackle sized and other then a few feathers, it wasted nothing.

... read more


On Sep 26, 2011, ssherm_larch from CARDIFF BY THE SEA, CA wrote:

While grisly, raptors perform an important function thinning out weaker birds and keeping pest birds in check. While they may take some more colorful and less populous birds like Oriels, they mostly feast on finches and sparrows in my yard. There have been some very interesting recent studies on predators like wolves, that seem to imply that ecosystems can collapse when predators are removed from the environment. I say, enjoy them for their natural beauty and just look away when they eat. I included a photo of one of my visitors perched on my bird bath. He (or she) ignored my dogs, and let me get quite close to take that photo.


On Feb 7, 2011, joycemarie1212 from Plano, TX wrote:

Although I can understand themikeman's frustration with the Cooper's Hawk and the experiences he has had, I do not understand why themikeman would want to kill it. After all, it IS a bird of prey that must feed itself and chicks if they are present in the nest. I cringe when I see one swoop upon a dove or a squirrel, of course, but do not wish in turn to violate the terms of nature--i.e., the survival of the fittest.

They are beautiful birds, never nasty in any way that I've observed.


On Dec 23, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I usually love seeing large regal hawks and bird of prey but this bird is just nasty. it has really hot ugly and aggresive energy about it, whenever it comes onto my property or the neighboors yard, stalking sparrows and beautiful song birds. This past june 2010 i witnessed the same Cooper's hawk that usually just stalks from up in my back neighboors oak tree, fly into my front yard and viciously grab a large skinny male catbird and viciously toy with it in its talons while starting to rip it's head off and devour it while it was still half alive. mike


On Apr 22, 2009, GramaMeow from Wayzata, MN wrote:

Twice I have witnessed a Cooper's Hawk fly to the ground, walk to a bush and peer up inside of it trying to flush out the songbirds who had just escaped its talons at the birdfeeder. Pretty smart bird!