Closely related to Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks are year-round residents in Essex County – if you have a hawk visiting your bird feeder, this is most likely the species. You can also see them migrate through the area in good numbers. Mid-September brings the start of Cooper’s Hike migration and they will continue in good numbers until mid-October. The hawk tower at Holiday Beach Conservation Area offers a unique vantage point to view this species. You’ll see them moving over the trees tops and above the tower, with their distinctive “flap, flap, glide” flight pattern. The Tip of Point Pelee National Park, particularly during south winds, also offers the opportunity for a close up look of this medium-sized hawk.
Size & Shape
A medium-sized hawk with the classic accipiter shape: broad, rounded wings and a very long tail. In Cooper’s Hawks, the head often appears large, the shoulders broad, and the tail rounded.
Adults are steely blue-gray above with warm reddish bars on the underparts and thick dark bands on the tail. Juveniles are brown above and crisply streaked with brown on the upper breast, giving them a somewhat hooded look compared with young Sharp-shinned Hawks’ more diffuse streaking.
Look for Cooper’s Hawks to fly with a flap-flap-glide pattern typical of accipiters. Even when crossing large open areas they rarely flap continuously. Another attack maneuver is to fly fast and low to the ground, then up and over an obstruction to surprise prey on the other side.
Wooded habitats from deep forests to leafy subdivisions and backyards.
*Image and description were sourced from: allaboutbirds.org