Cooper’s hawk population booming in Albuquerque

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Copper’s hawks are becoming more common around Albuquerque, but they’re actually not supposed to live here. So what’s causing them to move to the city?

Gail Garber with Hawks Aloft says the Cooper’s hawk, which primarily feeds on smaller birds, has become an urban bird. “They have short wings and long tails, and they’re designed to consume prey through dense vegetation,” said Garber.

For the most part, hawks are more commonly seen in the mountains and rural areas, but now they’ve made the city their home. “We’ve created an environment where, because we feed birds we artificially, elevate the populations of their prey,” she said.

Not only that, they love to live in shade trees. “The big trees that we have in our yards and also in our parks, so city parks are the perfect place for Cooper’s hawks, so almost every park in the city has a Cooper’s Hawk nest in it,” said Garber.

One was spotted this weekend at a home near Eubank and Candalaria sitting on top of a car. “They have a bedroom, they have a kitchen, they have areas to fly,” said Garber.

So for now, as long as they have a good food supply, it appears they’re here to stay. “Anybody that has a Cooper’s hawk in their neighborhood or nesting in their yard should be so thrilled because they get to watch a top predator,” she said.

Garber says if you see a baby hawk on the ground, it likely is just getting its bearings. She says try not to pick it up or take it anywhere unless it appears injured.

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