If you put out seed for birds in your backyard, there’s a chance you’ll also attract the attention of a Cooper’s Hawk. While catching smaller birds is just doing what comes naturally for a Cooper’s Hawk, many of us would prefer not to share the responsibility for the deaths. If a Cooper’s Hawk takes up residence in your yard, you can take your feeders down for a few days and the hawk will move on.
Find This Bird
Finding a Cooper’s Hawk is typically a matter of keeping your eyes peeled – they’re common but stealthy, and smaller than other common hawks like the red-tailed, so your eye might skip over them in flight. Look for the flap-flap-glide flight style and remarkably long tail to zero in on these birds in an instant. During migration, hawkwatches on ridgetops in both East and West are great places to see lots of Cooper's Hawks.
Keep track of your Cooper's Hawk sightings online with eBird for your personal records – and for the birding community
Watch your feeders this winter and report your bird counts to Project FeederWatch
Learn more about bird photography in our Building Skills section. Then contribute your images to the Birdshare flickr site, which helps supply the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's websites with photos, including All About Birds.
You Might Also Like
Project Feederwatch's Tricky IDs comparison page: Sharp-shinned vs. Cooper's Hawks
Sharp-shinned vs Cooper's: ID by Silhouette and Shape [image]
Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks, Great Backyard Bird Count.
Behavior—like the Cooper's Hawk's flap-flap-glide flight style—is indispensable in identifying birds. Watch our Inside Birding video series to learn how—right from your computer.
FAQ: A hawk has started hunting the feeder birds in my yard. What can I do?
Silent Alert: An appreciation of the Cooper's Hawk, Living Bird, Spring 2011.
Raptors of Winter, All About Birds, January 12, 2015.
Raptors and Rat Poison, Living Bird, Summer 2015.
ID Tips for Raptor-Watching Season: Use Tail and Wing Shape, Living Bird, Autumn 2016.