Formerly believed to be secretive and sensitive to human disturbance, Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) are now common urban hawks in many areas. While Cooper's Hawks are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors toward conspecific intruders of the same age and sex, agonistic behaviors directed toward humans are reported more and more frequently as these hawks settle increasingly in urban areas. In order to identify potential factors influencing nest site defense toward humans, I collected data from 49 nests: 24 in Albuquerque urban areas and 25 in the riparian woodland corridor (bosque) that runs through the center of the city during the 2010 breeding season. Observers visited each nest once weekly and recorded behaviors according to a pre-determined scale. Additional information was documented regarding habitat type, nest tree species, nest height, parental age and sex. While not a completely reliable indication of a specific age, eye color in Cooper's Hawks changes dramatically over time. Therefore, birds were grouped according to predominant eye color: yellow, orange, and red eyes. Chi-square tests support the hypothesis that hawks nesting in urban areas and surrounded by regular human activity are less responsive in defense of nest sites than those nesting in forested areas with minimal human activity. Chi-square tests also indicate that males and younger (yellow eyes) Cooper's Hawks are more responsive than females and older Cooper's Hawks. In addition chi-square tests indicate a significant relationship between nest site defense and nest stage. There were increases in nest site defense after hatch and during the fledging stage.
|Commitee:||Cartron, Jean Luc, Sherman, Peter|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||MAI 49/05M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Ecology, Zoology, Behavioral Sciences|
|Keywords:||Accipiter cooperii, Agonistic behaviors, Cooper's hawk, Nest defense, New Mexico, Wildlife urban interface|
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