Female Cooper’s Hawks are about 30% larger than their male counterparts.
Cooper’s Hawks have short, powerful wings and a long tail; these adaptations give them the ability to be highly maneuverable in dense forest habitats. But even with their incredible agility, a recent study showed that 23% of all of the Cooper’s Hawks examined had healed fractures in the bones of their chest.
About a third of all attempts by Cooper’s Hawks to capture food are successful.
After capturing its prey, Cooper’s Hawks have been occasionally observed to drown their victim by holding it under water.
While Cooper’s Hawks will prey on a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, some of their most common quarry include Mourning Doves, American Robins, Jays, Northern Flicker, European Starling and chipmunks.
One study in New York documented that each Cooper’s Hawk nestling consumed 11 items of prey per week.
Cooper’s Hawks have been known to cache uneaten prey in trees for later use.
Sharp-shinned Hawks have especially long middle toes and large eyes, these adaptations help them to capture the small, agile birds that make up almost their entire diet.
Sharp-shinned Hawk females are on average 43% larger than their male counterparts. This size difference between the two sexes is the largest of all of North American raptors.
The name “sharp-shinned” comes from the long and narrow appearance of the hawk’s leg just above its toes.
While gliding, a Sharp-shinned Hawk can be distinguished from a Cooper’s Hawk by a noticeably shorter head in relationship to leading edge of its wings and the squared off appearance of its tail.
On October 4, 1977, over 11,000 Sharp-shinned Hawks were counted migrating past Cape May Point, New Jersey.
Project Feeder Watch studies show that up to a third of all predation deaths at feeders are caused by Sharp-shinned Hawks.
To survive, a Sharp-shinned Hawk needs to capture and eat one bird per day, on average.
The oldest recaptured banded Cooper’s Hawk was still alive at 20 years and 4 months old.
The oldest recaptured banded Sharp-shinned Hawk was still alive at 19 years and 11 months old.