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Watch for Colour-banded Cooper’s Hawks

A study of the ecology of Cooper’s Hawks nesting in the urban environment of Greater Victoria has been underway since 1995. To date over 1200 of these hawks have been colour-banded at over 85 nest sites. You can greatly assist this research project by watching for and reporting observations of these banded hawks.

Colour-bands are uniquely coded with 2 vertical alphanumeric characters (i.e. number over letter, letter over number) and are placed on the left leg (see illustration). Band codes are repeated 3 times around the circumference of the band and can be read as far away as 20 m with binoculars or up to 75 m using a spotting scope. Red bands were placed on females and black bands were put on males. If you observe one of these marked hawks, please record the band colour and code, date and time, whether it was in adult or juvenile plumage, as well as the location.

Please report all sightings, even if you were unable to determine the band code. Band colour in itself provides very useful data.

To date approximately 2000 observations of these marked birds have been reported from as far away as Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, and from the Delta/Boundary Bay area of the mainland coast. About 20 of these hawks have been re-encountered in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and southern California. Over 90% of year-round sightings, however, come from the Greater Victoria and Saanich Peninsula areas. A great many were reported hunting in the vicinity of backyard bird feeders.

Please report Cooper’s Hawk observations to:

Andy Stewart
Wildlife Biologist
3932 Telegraph Bay Road
Victoria, B.C. V8N 4H7

Phone: (250) 477-1328
E-mail: andy.stewart[at]


UPDATED: March 19, 2008

Kevin Slagboom
Victoria, BC

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