Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cooper’s Hawk

As I have written previously, Cooper’s Hawks are recovering raptors. Because of people shooting them and due to pesticide contamination, these birds’ numbers declined during the 1900s. Many populations have now recovered, and they are found in forestland and even in urban forested areas. Cooper’s Hawks consume medium-sized birds and mammals (Curtis et al. 2006).

This raptor was described in 1826 by Charles Bonaparte and named for William Coopers, a New York ornithologist. Cooper was the father of James Cooper, after whom the Cooper Ornithological Society is named.

We banded this male Cooper’s Hawk on 27 April. Ominously, in mid-April 2015, amidst an outbreak of avian flu among domestic turkey and chicken flocks, the first wild bird in Minnesota confirmed to carry the disease was a Cooper’s Hawk. Hopefully warmer weather will cause the flu to decline and won’t greatly adversely affect our wild birds.

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