Also known as the big blue darter, chicken hawk, flying cross, hen hawk, or quail hawk, the Cooper’s Hawk is a medium-sized woodland hawk native to most of North America, though they typically spend colder months in the southern regions of the United States and Mexico.
Averaging 35 to 48 centimetres (14 to 19 inches) in length, these stealthy birds of prey use dense cover to hide their movements and strike in a powerful burst of speed.
They mostly hunt medium-sized birds—approximately the size of jays or robins—and small mammals, including chipmunks, mice, bats, tree squirrels, and ground squirrels.
Unlike many falcons, Cooper’s Hawks don’t inflict fatal wounds with their beaks. Instead, they squeeze their prey to death, or even drown it.
Most Cooper’s Hawk pairs will mate for life, raising one brood of hatchlings per year.
They can live for as long as 12 years in the wild, though the average lifespan is just shy of two years.
They prefer to build their nests 20 to 60 feet above the ground in forks and branch junctions of trees.
Nests are a team affair and are mostly composed of sticks, with a soft liner of bark, long grasses, or pine needles.