Nearly every day I see a Cooper’s Hawk in the backyard. I think there is a juvenile and an adult that visit. I watched this adult in the birdbath on Thanksgiving Day Eve. It may be a female, as they are larger than a male, and this bird is pretty big. Not a great quality photo because it was taken through a window, but what a beautiful bird.
Since coming home from our road trip, I have noticed a marked decrease in my backyard birdie population. I suspected a hawk was the reason. And today, sure enough, while sitting out back I saw one swoop through the backyard scattering the few birds that were at the feeders. Later in the day, the hawk flew in again and perched on an oak across from me for a few minutes. It is huge. I believe this is a juvenile Cooper’s hawk. Cooper’s hawks and sharp-shinned hawks, both accipiters, are very hard to distinguish from one another. Based on field guidance I’ve read online (e.g., here, here, here and here), the overall size, head shape, tail shape, thick legs, and breast streaking lead me to lean towards a Cooper’s ID. Either way, it’s a beautiful bird, but I wish it would find another yard to terrorize. I miss my abundance of birdies.