Cooper’s Hawk

Hawks and other raptors – especially screech owls – are adaptable to an urban environment, as long as a food source is available.

A Cooper’s Hawk is just a bit smaller than the Red-Tailed and like the Western Screech Owl is more of a canopy-and-ambush bird of prey.

There is a local one which frequents our neighborhood, tending to move around whenever it attracts mobs of blue jays that harass it long enough to be a bother.

They have a preference for White-winged Doves, although they will take any unwary bird.  I haven’t seen one attack a squirrel, which is fortunate, since the squirrels aren’t sure what to make of the “big bird.”  I’ve watched the Eastern Gray Squirrels stare puzzled at the hawk while it’s sat within a few feet away on the fence, a tree limb, or the birdbath.  They’ll approach it, trying to figure it out, while it seems to ignore them.

The Cooper’s Hawk is readily identifiable for the wide black-and-gray bands on its tail.  Hawks can be difficult to identify when a good image isn’t available, and because hawks also exhibit a range of slight feature changes between sub-adults and adults, plus a few other variations.