Called also: CHICKEN HAWK; BIG BLUE DARTER.
LengthMale 15.50 inches; female 19 inches.
Male, Female and YoungTo be distinguished from the sharp-shinned species only by their larger size, darker, blackish crowns, and rounded, instead of square, tails.
RangeTemperate North America, nesting throughout its United States range; some birds wintering in Mexico and the southern states.
SeasonPermanent resident except at northern limits of range, where it is a summer or transient visitor.
Like the sharp-shinned hawk in habits as in plumage, this, its larger double, lives by devouring birds of so much greater value than itself that the law of the survival of the fittest should be enforced by lead until these villains, from being the commonest of their generally useful tribe, adorn museum cases only. Captain Bendire,writing for the Government, says: “Cooper’s hawk must be considered as one of the few really injurious Raptores found within our limits, and as it is fairly common at all seasons throughout the greater part of the United States, it does in the aggregate far more harm than all other hawks. It is well known to be the most audacious robber the farmer has to contend with in the protection of his poultry, and is the equal in every way, both in spirit and dash, as well as in bloodthirstiness, of its larger relative, the goshawk, lacking, however, the strength of the Iatter, owing to its much smaller size. It is by far the worst enemy of all the smaller game birds, living to a great extent on them as well as on small birds generally. It does not appear to be especially fond of the smaller rodents; these, as well as reptiles, batrachians, and insects, seem to enter only to a limited extent into its daily bill of fare, and unfortunately it is only too often the case that many of our harmless and really beneficial hawks have to suffer for the depredations of these daring thieves.”