Cooper’s Hawk: Metroccipiter continues

Michael Hearst, of Orange County Vector Control, sent us the following photos in the fall of 2012.  We apologize for taking so long to get these remarkable images online.

Mr. Hearst looked out the window one afternoon to see this immature female Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii ) practicing a bit of “vector control” of her own: eating a pigeon on the roof of a fancy red SUV! He alerted his colleagues, and within minutes they were all hauling thousands of dollars’ worth of expensive camera equipment in place to grab these wonderful close-up shots. No iPhones pictures here!

For 65 years the Orange County Vector Control District has been controlling mosquitoes and protecting the people of Orange County from vector-borne disease.  The District also controls roof rats, and Red Imported Fire Ants. This is a serious charge that they carry out with a full-time staff of 55 and a seasonal staff of another 55 on hand from April thru October.   Without a doubt they are helping control the spread of West Nile Virus in southern California as well.

Many thanks to Michael and all the great photographers! They were taken by the following gentlemen, all biologists with of California’s Orange County Vector Control.Photo credits: Larry Shaw, Steve Bennett and Rob Velton




32nd  Anniversary Savings  for our exclusive license plates:$19.95 Note the immature brown plumage and yellow eye color.  In this country, our accipiters develop red eyes when they become adults.  

32nd  Anniversary Savings  for our exclusive license plates:$19.95

Three Accipiters are found in North America:  the sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper’s hawk, and the northern goshawk.  The Cooper’s is the mid-sized species of the Accipiter genus.  

32nd  Anniversary Savings  for our exclusive license plates:$19.95


What looks like a ball that has been swallowed by this Cooper’s Hawk, is actually the pigeon she has just consumed being stored in a temporary storage pouch called the “crop.”  Again, many thanks to the brilliant well focused glass eyes of our photographers: Larry Shaw, Steve Bennett and Rob Velton.

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Last revised March 19, 2013