[birding] Re: Bold Coopers

Trent Seager stseager at gmail.com
Fri Sep 4 23:36:01 PDT 2009

Hi Kaynor and all,

Great sighting!  I would have loved to have seen the flight.  Split second
decisions seem to make or break an accipiter getting a meal.

In my experience, a female Cooper's Hawk can take very large quarry.  While
I would not assume that a Coops could take a larger duck (Mallard size), the
Wood Duck is smaller - and in a wooded flight, the Coops might have a shot.
But similar to falcons, the accipiters avoid taking quarry off water.  A
miss means into the water (though for a stooping falcon this is even more

I had an wild immature female Cooper's hawk come in on my chickens.  These
were 5-6 month old chickens, nearly full grown.  I think the Coops saw the
chicken's wings and flutter from afar and came screaming in on them.  Once
she flew the deck and scattered the chickens, she perched up in the tree and
thought the better of it.  The chickens spooked hard, but then realized it
was not a Goshawk or Red-tail and seem to breathe easier.

Falconers hunt pheasant with trained female Cooper's hawk.  While quail
might be the more ideal quarry, larger ones are possible.

My GSP dog and I spooked some California Quail while hiking over near Lake
Abert (Lake Co) in mid-August.  The immature male Coops that had been on a
nearby boulder and watching us intently as we birded along the willows (and
he watched the first half of the covey fly away) took to flight and flew
down and caught one of the young quail in that broke in the second half of
the covey.  The hawk flew over me and my dog to fly down the quail.
Determined hawk!


> I was biking around Cheadle Lake in Lebanon the other day and was surprized to
> see a Cooper's Hawk chase a female Wood Duck through the trees until she dove
> headfirst into the lake.  She was screaming bloody murder the whole way.  I've
> always thought of Coops as going after songbirds - I can't imagine an
> accipiter killing a duck, but it sure seemed to try - and the duck sure was
> worried.  Once the Wood Duck came up for air and paddled away on the water
> surface, the Coop lost interest.  Anybody ever heard of an accipiter actually
> killing a duck?

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