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I've seen this raptor on multiple occasions in my front yard. I have several feeders that are frequented by up to 50 or so house sparrows at times with a nearby bush in which they take shelter while feeding. It seems these feeders provide food for the sparrows, and the sparrows provide the food for the hawk. Anyway, I've been under the assumption this is a cooper's hawk, but figured it never hurts to double check and get additional opinions. Since I was able to finally get some nice pictures. please let me know for sure if it is indeed a cooper's hawk or something else.

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Thanks for the feedback! I first saw this bird last year and noticed it looked the same (immature plumage) this year. Any idea how old Coopers tend to be when molting to a more adult like plumage? As much as I don't like the thought of my little passerine friends becoming lunch, I really enjoy the chance to see this raptor up close and since he (or she?) seems to have a taste for the house sparrows which are quite plentiful (and, of course, invasive) I am hoping that the hawk sticks around for years to come.

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They gain their definitive plumage (adult-like) in their second summer (1 year old).  So this is a different bird than last year.

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4 hours ago, sfinmt said:

They gain their definitive plumage (adult-like) in their second summer (1 year old).

I'm curious,  and can't really find a definitive answer anywhere -  are they already able to breed in their second summer?  Or, like eagles for example need several years to fully mature.

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17 minutes ago, Bee_ keeper said:

I'm curious,  and can't really find a definitive answer anywhere -  are they already able to breed in their second summer?  Or, like eagles for example need several years to fully mature.

I did a Google search and this article came up ... https://bioone.org/journals/the-condor/volume-115/issue-2/cond.2013.120001/Life-History-Trade-Offs-of-Breeding-in-One-Year-Old/10.1525/cond.2013.120001.short

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4 hours ago, Kevin said:

Thanks Kevin, that's interesting.  Seems like the males can, but typically don't... I wonder if same goes for females.  

Edited by Bee_ keeper

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The photos I posted at the start of this thread were all taken 11/28/2019. Here is a photo that was taken last year, 11/08/2018 that was the first time I saw any hawk feeding in the bush (fuzzy image was taken through window glass). So these are definitely two different birds?

 

Hawk_11-8-2018.thumb.png.d9483c03f1b9392f853953253142bef1.png

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2 minutes ago, pcon2009 said:

The photos I posted at the start of this thread were all taken 11/28/2019. Here is a photo that was taken last year, 11/08/2018 that was the first time I saw any hawk feeding in the bush (fuzzy image was taken through window glass). So these are definitely two different birds?

 

Hawk_11-8-2018.thumb.png.d9483c03f1b9392f853953253142bef1.png

Yes. This bird should now be in adult plumage.

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Plumage -wise it takes up to 3 years to be in adult plumage. Eye color will go from yellow to an orange stage and the red when full adult in accipiters. Sexual maturity certainly always does not coincide with the plumage stages. So some juvenile plumaged bird(in second year)can still breed although not too many do.

Edited by birdbrain22

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23 hours ago, Kevin said:

Yes. This bird should now be in adult plumage.

Well kind of...  today this bird certainly will not look exactly like it does in this pic. It could be at some stage of molting into full adult plumage... so somewhere between the full juvenile and full adult plumage.

 

Edited by birdbrain22
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On 12/5/2019 at 5:28 PM, Kevin said:

Yes. This bird should now be in adult plumage.

 

33 minutes ago, birdbrain22 said:

Well kind of...  today this bird certainly will not look exactly like it does in this pic. It could be at some stage of molting into full adult plumage... so somewhere between the full juvenile and full adult plumage.

 

I stand corrected.:classic_blush:

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Interesting - - Birds of North America says definitive (adult) plumage reached at one year.   Wheeler says subadult plumage at one year (rufous color on nape and auriculars, with some juvenal feathers retained on upper coverts and rump), and then adult plumage at two years with gray nape and auriculars.   BoNA provides no such detail.    I'll go with Wheeler.

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1 hour ago, sfinmt said:

Interesting - - Birds of North America says definitive (adult) plumage reached at one year.   Wheeler says subadult plumage at one year (rufous color on nape and auriculars, with some juvenal feathers retained on upper coverts and rump), and then adult plumage at two years with gray nape and auriculars.   BoNA provides no such detail.    I'll go with Wheeler.

Again it can take anywhere from 2-3 years actually.

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8 minutes ago, birdbrain22 said:

Again it can take anywhere from 2-3 years actually.

rephrase for clarity... it can take a full 2 years and into their 3rd year before full adult plumage.

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This is a quote from Arthur Cleveland Bent.

"In fresh juvenal plumage the upper parts are "bone brown" to "clove brown," edged on the crown and tipped on the back, wing coverts, and upper tail coverts with "tawny" or "ochraceous-tawny," lightest on the tail coverts; there is a white line over the eye; the chest is washed in "pinkish cinnamon" and heavily marked with broad, hastate, dusky streaks; the flanks and breast are white, with narrow dusky streaks; the belly is immaculate white; and the legs (tibiae) are marked with "buffy brown" cordate spots. This plumage is worn throughout the first winter and spring, the colors fading somewhat and the edgings wearing away. Young birds begin to breed in this plumage. A complete molt begins in June, starting with the wings and tail and ending with the body molt in summer. This produces a second-year plumage that is practically adult, but the full perfection of the adult plumage is not acquired for at least another year."

This is a good article that I would recommend reading. http://birdsbybent.netfirms.com/ch1-10/coopers.html

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