The Cooper’s Hawks are Mating in the Greater Montreal Region

In the last decade, Cooper’s Hawks have been making their presence more and more seen throughout the Greater Montreal area. No other Cooper’s Hawk is more notorious than Odin, nesting for nine consecutive years at the Montreal Botanical Garden and the adjacent Maisoneuve Park, Odin has made his mark and his progeniture will continue to rein throughout the Greater Montreal Region

Montreal Botanical GardenMontreal Botanical Garden’s Legendary Cooper’s Hawk, Odin

Odin had a good run from 2003 to 2010 but struggled in 2011 to feed his last nestlings. He appeared fatigued and age was starting to take a toll on him. Odin had given us 9 successful years of nesting. He had given Montrealers the privilege to observe these fascinating birds grow up through the summer, in the heart of Montreal, for almost a decade. Taking in consideration that a Cooper reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2, it’s an easy assumption that Odin made it to the age of 11.

Coopers Hawk MatingCooper’s Hawks Mating – Montreal Botanical Garden 2012

Odin’s absence in the Spring of 2012 made room for a brand new male Cooper. A small-statured athletic Cooper’s Hawk. A few hick-ups arose that season. Broken egg shells were found on the ground near the nesting tree. However the female seemed to be valiantly caring for her nest. Unfortunately the male was found dead in the Japanese Garden forcing the female to eventually abandon the nest.

Coopers Hawk MatingCooper’s Hawk Mating – Montreal Botanical Garden 2012

This year a new trend has been observed. It appears that young females, barely a year old are nesting with mature males in three different sites throughout the Greater Montreal Region. Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park, Montreal Botanical Garden and La Frayère park in Boucherville. These inexperienced females don’t usually have all the odds in their favor. Only time will tell if they’ll get it right this year.

Above the 2014 nesting couple at Ile de la Visitaion Nature Park. They’ve been observed mating and have successfully built a nest where the female has been seen on several occasions. If timing is right she should be laying her eggs within the following week. She can have 4 to 5 hatchlings but studies show that only 25% of Accipiters survive their first year. They’ll need all the help from their young mom to get a good start and a fighting chance.

Cooper’s mate quite rapidly, a full 3 seconds, and it’s all over. The ritual is pretty standard. The male brings an offering of food  to the female. Once the female accepts it, the mating usually takes place. I’ve observed Coopers mating at a peak of 6 to 9 times in a single day.

Nesting Female - Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012Nesting Female – Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park 2012

Although a Cooper’s Hawk has very little predators to fear in the Montreal Area, disease and infections took a toll on some of these Hawks over the last few years. Last year’s nesting female at Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park died of a fungus infection from eating a sick pigeon. The same is suspected in the death of the male Cooper at the Montreal Botanical Garden in 2012.

ODIN Sibling - Summer 2011 - Montreal Botanical GardenODIN Sibling – Summer 2011 – Montreal Botanical Garden

Here are a few images of ODIN’s last siblings from the 2011 nesting year at the Montreal Botanical Garden. This year we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for some successful nesting in the area. There’s still quite a few mature couples nesting throughout the region.

ODIN Sibling - Summer 2011 - Montreal Botanical GardenODIN Sibling – Summer 2011 – Montreal Botanical Garden

Cooper’s Hawks can be found in many wooded areas in and around the Greater Montreal Area. This is a good time to find them as they are quite vocal, especially when mating. As time goes on the leaves will grow making the nests harder to find and you’ll have to wait until June for a chance encounter with a young Cooper’s Hawk.

Hera are a few Hotspots to look out for:

Ile-de-la-Visitation Nature Park, Montreal, Quebec Canada

Parc de la Frayère, Boucherville, Quebec Canada

Montreal Botanical Garden, Montreal Quebec, Canada

Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal Quebec Canada

Bois Papineau, Laval Quebec Canada

 

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