Urban landscapes vary greatly across North America and long-term data on the nesting biology of Cooper's hawks (Accipiter cooperii) from a variety of urban environments will improve our understanding of these poorly studied populations. We studied Cooper's hawks nesting in the metropolitan Milwaukee area, Wisconsin, USA, over a 12-year period, 1993–2004. Nesting success for 254 first nesting attempts averaged 64.6% with means of 2.27 young per laying pair and 3.53 young per successful pair. For 8 second nesting attempts (i.e., re-nests), nesting success averaged 87.5% with means of 2.57 young per laying pair and 3.00 young per successful pair. Productivity for first nesting attempts did not vary over the 12-year period, and productivity for re-nests did not differ from first nesting attempts. We documented evidence of nest predation by raccoons (Procyon lotor) and red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). On average, second year (SY [i.e., 1-yr-old]) Cooper's hawks comprised 14.6% (43 of 295 breeding birds; 21.5% [37 of 172] of F and 4.9% [6 of 123] of M) of the known breeding population. The percentage of SY breeders within this population declined over the 12-year period, suggesting a relatively young population. Cooper's hawks consistently reoccupied nest sites annually after initial discovery over an estimated 2 generations of breeding adults, suggesting that population density for our study was at least stable. We trapped 105 breeding adults, including 5 natal dispersal birds. Based on long-term, relatively high reproduction, repeated re-occupancy of nest sites, and confirmed recruitment from within this population, we suggest that these nesting areas were not marginal or inferior habitats and that urban Cooper's hawks in this study area were not a sink population. We recommend no active management of this population at this time; however, additional information for nesting Cooper's hawks from other urban environs will expand our knowledge base for these populations.
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Vol. 71 • No. 2