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The Cooper's Hawk: breeding ecology & natural history of a winged huntsman

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By: Robert N. Rosenfield
ISBN-13: 978-0-88839-082-0 [trade softcover]
ISBN-13: 978-0-88839-116-2 [trade hardcover]
Binding: Trade Paper 
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Pages: 164
Photos: 73
Illustrations: 5
Publication Date: Summer 2018


Sample Chapter- Courtship & Nesting

Table of Contents

The Cooper’s Hawk presents the general reader and professional biologists interested in birds and nature, with an authoritative account of the breeding biology of the what is perhaps the most abundant, backyard breeding raptor in North America. This urban status exists despite cross-generational human persecution through shooting of individuals and indirect felling of forests, their apparent preferred nesting habitat. Using conversational prose, the natural history of the bird’s diet, including bird feeder use and disease concerns, courtship behavior, and the ecological themes of breeding density, reproductive success, and adult survivorship are described. There too is a focus on how and why fieldwork is conducted on this ubiquitous city dweller who preys mostly on birds, or ‘urban fast food.’ How urban birds may differ from their rural counterparts is addressed, and especially highlighted is the novel aspect of reproductive deceit in this red-eyed, blue-backed predator, as, unlike all other birds of prey studied to date, it is highly promiscuous. The text is complemented with original art and especially crisp photographs that demonstrate this bird’s natural history.

Author Biography

Robert N. Rosenfield is Professor of Ecology at the Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he teaches Ecology, Ornithology, and Raptor Ecology. His courses highlight experiential, hands-on fieldwork for undergraduate students with Cooper’s Hawks, including two field-courses in tundra settings, Subarctic Ecology and Survey of Gyrfalcons in Alaska, and Arctic Ecology and Survey of Peregrine Falcons in Greenland. He has made 20 trips to Greenland to study Peregrine Falcons.
His research with raptors began with capture and banding of migratory hawks, falcons, and owls at the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory in his home town of Duluth, Minnesota in 1973. This experience sparked his M.S. research at UWSP on the nesting biology of Broad-winged Hawks in Wisconsin during 1976-1981. Concurrent with this thesis work he was invited by the state of Wisconsin in 1980 to investigate the breeding status of the Cooper’s Hawk, a bird deemed at the time to be in population peril. This work led to the discovery of a thriving nesting population, and launched a 38-year, ongoing research of population, behavioral, and molecular aspects of nesting Cooper’s Hawks. Some of this research was used to complete his Ph.D. in Zoology at North Dakota State University in 1990. His Wisconsin investigations expanded to the prairies of North Dakota and to British Columbia to collaborate on other populations of Cooper’s Hawks. He has also conducted research on the possible effects of forest fragmentation on breeding songbirds.
Bob has served as a Board Member of the Raptor Research Foundation, and represented this international organization on committees that evaluated the validity of delisting the American Peregrine Falcon, and the proposed listing of the Northern Goshawk, both under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Rosenfield has published over 110 scientific journal articles, monographs, and technical reports on birds, including over 60 on Cooper’s Hawks. His work has been covered in numerous media outlets for the public, including Discovery Channel, National Wildlife, Smithsonian Institute, Birder’s World, National Geographic, and Sports Afield. He received the William A. Burnham Memorial Award for Arctic Research, and has also been honored with 12 awards at his campus for distinguished service, and excellence in teaching and scholarship. He is widely recognized as the world’s authority on the Cooper’s Hawk.



Book Reviews


"When I hear 'Theory of Relativity', I think Einstein. When I hear 'Cooper’s Hawk' I think Robert Rosenfield. Of 47 or so global members of the genus Accipiter, Cooper’s Hawk is the only endemic member north of Mexico. Bob Rosenfield has full command of the knowledge of that species and this book is everything we have come to expect from Bob. It is the final authoritative treatise on the biology and natural history of the Cooper’s Hawk, period."

        -- Dr. Clayton M. White, Emeritus Professor of Vertebrate Zoology, Brigham Young University


"Robert Rosenfield’s 40-year investigation of the Cooper’s Hawk reveals surprising details about this beguiling species, one that flourishes in our neighborhoods despite an earlier threat of extinction. Imagine the diminutive breadwinner male slipping silently through his woodland territory, accelerating in a burst of agile pursuit while his larger, stronger spouse guards her nestlings. This is the risky world of forbidden romance, mortal combat between rivals, and the nuances of habitat selection and territorial partitioning. Dr. Rosenfield explores the evolutionary “whys” of such things and keeps it fun by sharing his personal experiences. The book is, cover-to-cover, a Naturalist’s adventure, an exhilaration for the mind and spirit."

-- Dr. Grainger Hunt, Senior Scientist Emeritus, The Peregrine Fund 


"This is not only a great book on the Cooper’s Hawk as an incredibly adaptive raptorial bird, but it is also one of the best books focused on a single-species that I have ever read! With a lifetime of experience working with these birds in the field, his insightful and brilliant scientific mind, and his easy-to-read writing style, Bob Rosenfield has hit one out of the park! A must buy for bird-watchers and ornithologists alike!"

-- Dr. David Bird, Emeritus Professor of Wildlife Biology, McGill University


"The Cooper’s Hawk is a North American wildlife success story and a species which likely inhabits a city near you. I had the good fortune to spend several field seasons with Bob Rosenfield studying this hawk. From the moment I first observed him handle one of these birds, I knew I was in the presence of a true expert. Bob’s passion and enthusiasm for this winged huntsman is infectious and in evidence on every page of this book. I have no doubt this well written and fully illustrated treatise will inspire others to study this intriguing raptor. Whether you are a scientist, a student, a naturalist, or just plain fascinated with birds of prey, this is a must-have book for your library."

-- Andrew C. Stewart, Retired Wildlife Biologist, Victoria, BC


"Long-term studies are the gold standard for understanding the natural history of birds, especially birds of prey. This study is about as long-term (38 years) as it gets in the raptor world, and it also neatly integrates the findings of Cooper’s Hawk researchers in widely separated parts of North America. It will be a very useful introduction to students entering the fascinating world of the natural history of raptorial birds. In addition, it is presented in an enthusiastic style (“plain, conversational language”) that is accessible to any bird enthusiast or other aficionado of the natural world."

-- Lloyd Kiff, Retired Ornithologist, Clinton, WA


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