Colossal Cooper’s Conundrum

(Almost) No Vacancy – Wow, We Are Full!!

We are stuffed to the rafters with raptors!

     Did you know that the number of Cooper’s Hawks the RMRP admits tripled? From 11 Cooper’s in 2015 to 31 in 2016, we have seen a huge increase in these accipiters (forest-dwelling hawks). 10 years ago, we saw our first nestling Cooper’s Hawk, and they have just expanded from then on. 2017 is continuing the trend, and we will probably see over 40 this year.
This nestling Cooper’s Hawk fell from his nest,and will grow up under the skilled hands of the RMRP.
     Why the trend? Wouldn’t we like the know! We can only assume a few things:
  • Lots of areas in Fort Collins have lovely, older trees to nest in. Perfect for Cooper’s kids!
  • Area residents love wildlife and often have bird feeders. A Cooper’s diet is primarily made up of other birds. A backyard feeder is a Cooper’s diner!
  • They are adaptable. These birds are not scared to nest and hunt in urban areas, unlike other accipiters like the Goshawk that are very wary of humans and lose ground to development.
     Cooper’s can’t be housed with each other like other raptors such as American Kestrels or Red-tailed Hawks. Because they hunt birds, they need to be house separately or we risk the Cooper’s killing each other. This causes a huge housing crunch.
     Another big problem is the expense of their food. Quail is the best, most nutritious food to provide for the patients in our hospital while they recover from injuries and illness. Quail can cost up to $5 each, and a Cooper’s eats one quail a day. Ouch.

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