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1 August 2003 HUNTING BEHAVIOR AND DIET OF COOPER'S HAWKS: AN URBAN VIEW OF THE SMALL-BIRD-IN-WINTER PARADIGM
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Abstract

We examined the predatory behavior of wintering urban Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii). Eight Cooper's Hawks (7 female, 1 male) were radio-tracked intensively during two winter periods from 1999–2001. We observed 179 attacks, 35 of which were successful, for an overall attack success rate of 20%. We recorded an additional 44 kills resulting from unobserved attacks. European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris), Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), and Rock Doves (Columba livia) made up 95% of the prey attacked and 91% of the diet. Smaller birds (<70 g), such as House Sparrows (Passer domesticus), were numerous in the study area but were rarely attacked. Mammals were not included in the diet. Surprise attacks (initiated at close range, often from behind an obstruction), were more successful than “open” attacks, although the latter were more frequent. In addition, attacks on single individuals were significantly more successful than those on flocks. Nonetheless, many attacks were attempted on large flocks. Our results suggest that the smaller bird species (<70 g) in our urban study area were at low risk of predation from Cooper's Hawks.

Comportamiento de Caza y Dieta de Accipiter cooperii: Una Visión Urbana del Paradigma de Aves Pequeñas durante el Invierno

Resumen. Examinamos el comportamiento de depredación de individuos urbanos de la especie Accipiter cooperii durante el período de invernada. Ocho individuos (siete hembras y un macho) fueron seguidos intensamente mediante radio telemetría durante dos períodos invernales desde 1999 hasta 2001. Observamos 179 ataques, de los cuales 35 fueron exitosos, con una tasa general de éxito de ataque del 20%. Adicionalmente, registramos 44 muertes que resultaron de ataques no observados. Sturnus vulgaris, Zenaida macroura y Columba livia compusieron el 95% de las presas atacadas y el 91% de la dieta. Aves pequeñas (<70 g), como Passer domesticus, fueron muy abundantes en el área de estudio pero fueron raramente atacadas. La dieta no incluyó mamíferos. Los ataques sorpresivos (iniciados a una corta distancia, generalmente desde detrás de algún objeto) fueron más exitosos que ataques “abiertos,” aunque estos últimos fueron más frecuentes. Además, los ataques sobre individuos que se encontraban solos fueron significativamente más exitosos que aquellos sobre bandadas. Sin embargo, muchos ataques fueron intentados sobre bandadas grandes. Nuestros resultados sugieren que en nuestra área de estudio urbana las especies de aves más pequeñas (<70 g) tenían un menor riesgo de ser depredadas por A. cooperii.

Timothy C. Roth II and Steven L. Lima "HUNTING BEHAVIOR AND DIET OF COOPER'S HAWKS: AN URBAN VIEW OF THE SMALL-BIRD-IN-WINTER PARADIGM," The Condor 105(3), 474-483, (1 August 2003). https://doi.org/10.1650/7219
Received: 18 October 2002; Accepted: 1 March 2003; Published: 1 August 2003
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