Home range characteristics of male Cooper's hawks in an urban environment

  • Mannan R
  • Boal C
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Abstract

We monitored the movements of nine radio-tagged, adult, male Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) in adjacent home ranges during the breeding seasons of 1996 or 1997 in Tucson, Arizona, to ascertain the sizes and degree of overlap of home ranges, and to assess habitat selection at two spatial scales. Size of home ranges differed among hawks (13.3-130.6 ha), but the average was small [65.5 ha + 40.7 (SD)] compared to the size of home ranges reported for Cooper's Hawks in the literature. Home range size generally decreased with the number of years that a hawk had lived on its breeding territory. Only one pair of home ranges overlapped each other; overlap of one home range on the other in this pair was 14.2% and 10.6%. Proportions of land-use categories in home ranges varied widely among hawks, and suggested that the hawks did not select their home ranges on the basis of the categories we examined. Patterns of habitat use inside individual home ranges sug- gested that male hawks hunted primarily in the environments that surrounded their nests. Cooper's Hawks in Tucson feed primarily on doves [Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), Inca Doves (Columbina inca), and White-winged Doves (Zenaida asiatica)l, and we speculate that the abundance of doves throughout Tucson allowed the hawks to hunt successfully in several urban environments. We also speculate that Cooper's Hawks in Tucson have relatively small home ranges because they do not need to range far from their nests to find food.

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