Discovery, Seasonality and Movement
The Cooper’s hawk is a medium-sized bird of prey. They have a wide distribution, including most of North America. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the typical habitat of Cooper’s hawks, as well as their range across the United States and Canada.
Cooper’s hawks breed in a variety of forest habitats in the contiguous United States and southern Canada. Many individuals remain in or near their breeding areas during the winter. However, populations in the northern third of its range migrate south, some as far as Mexico and Costa Rica.
This highly adaptable species has been expanding its range in recent years. Not only do they push north and south, but they become more abundant in cities and suburbs.
We discuss the range and habitat of the Cooper’s hawk in more detail throughout this article. Read on to discover more!
Cooper’s hawk perched on a garden fence
Cooper’s hawks are found in the continental United States, southeastern Canada, and Mexico. Populations breed in Canada and the United States, but typically migrate from the Canadian territories and northernmost states during the winter.
Mexico is primarily a wintering ground for Cooper’s hawks. They can be found throughout most of the country, as far south as Costa Rica, and possibly Panama, Cuba, and Colombia.
Over the past 15 years, the species has broadly expanded its range, especially in northern Canada and southern Mexico.
Where do Cooper’s Hawks live in the US?
Cooper’s hawks are spread across the continental United States. The hawk is common in almost all forest habitats across the country except the northern half of Maine. They are even adapting to nest in urban and suburban environments.
Over the past 15 years, Cooper’s hawks have expanded their range significantly, especially northward
What states do the Cooper’s Hawks live in?
The Cooper Eagle is home to all 48 states in the contiguous United States. The only two US states where the species is not found are Alaska and Hawaii.
Where in Canada does the Cooper’s Hawks live?
In Canada, the Cooper’s hawk is a breeding resident of central British Columbia, Alberta, southern Manitoba, southern Ontario, and southern Quebec. This species may also breed in southern New Brunswick.
Male Cooper’s Eagle perched on a tree looking for prey
Cooper’s hawk has a wide range of habitats. They are found throughout coniferous, deciduous and mixed coniferous forests within their territory. Eagles are also common in riparian habitats. Nests are usually built in mature trees in mixed coniferous forests.
This species happens to be reasonably tolerant of human disturbance. In fact, they have begun nesting in cities and suburbs.
Discovery, Seasonality and Movement
How rare is it to see a Cooper’s Eagle?
Cooper’s hawks are not uncommon, but they are fast fliers and are experts at blending in with their surroundings. To spot one, you usually have to be vigilant. They spend most of their time in the forest, which makes sightings difficult.
Where’s the best place to watch the Cooper Hawks?
The best place to see a Cooper’s hawk is in a forest or forest edge habitat. These are the preferred hunting places of the birds. Although this species occasionally hunts in open fields and meadows, it is less frequent than other large raptors.
Juvenile Cooper’s hawk takes off from a branch in search of prey
When are Cooper’s Eagles out?
Cooper’s hawks are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day. About 20 percent of their time is usually spent hunting. The rest of the day is divided between roosting, flying and caring for the young (if it is nesting season).
Will the Cooper’s Hawks stay in one place?
Some populations of Cooper’s hawks stay in one place, while others migrate. Generally, birds that breed in Canada and the northern United States migrate further south for the winter. However, there are some exceptions.
Adult breeders around Vancouver usually stay in breeding areas year-round. However, some birds in the southwestern United States are not permanent residents—they migrate south to Mexico and, in some cases, slightly further north.
Cooper’s hawk perched on a tree in the backyard watching the unsuspecting birds at the feeder
Where do the Cooper’s Hawks live in the winter?
Many Cooper’s hawks are permanent residents, remaining in or near their breeding range during the winter – especially in three-quarters of the United States. However, some individuals migrated south to Mexico and Costa Rica for the winter.
The southward migration usually starts in late August and lasts until early November. The wintering habitat is also about the same as the breeding season.
How did the Cooper Hawks survive the winter?
Cooper’s hawks survive extremely harsh winters by migrating out of the northernmost regions of their range. That’s not to say they avoid severe weather altogether, as hawks are still present in the Midwest and Western states.
However, Cooper’s hawk is a skilled hunter. They choose areas with plentiful food sources so they can hunt frequently to keep energetic and warm.
Where do the Cooper’s Hawks live in the summer?
In summer, the Cooper’s hawk can be found throughout the forests of the southern United States and Canada. The only part of the species’ range that does not exist is Mexico. Migrants head north from March and continue until May.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.