This week's "Bird of the Week" is the Cooper's hawk. As the backyard bird feeding season gets underway, be on the outlook for this fleet hawk dashing into your feeding station and grabbing a bird for a meal! The Cooper's hawk is a medium sized hawk with rounded wings and a long tail. Adults are steely blue-gray above with warm reddish bars on the underparts and thick dark bands on the tail. Juveniles are brown above and crisply streaked with brown on the upper breast. Cooper's hawk and Sharp-shinned hawks can be difficult to tell apart. Here is an article that points out the differences between the two hawks.
The Cooper's hawk rarely flaps its' wings continuously when flying, but rather flies with a flap - flap - glide pattern.
Cooper's hawks frequent wooded habitats from deep forests to leafy subdivisions and backyards. They use their long tail like a rudder so that they can maneur quickly through trees, bushes, etc. in pursuit of its prey - small birds. An attack maneuver they will sometimes use is to fly fast and low to the ground, then up and over an obstruction to surprise prey on the other side.
First photo from: http://www.surfbirds.com/media/gallery_photos/20060326085647.jpg
Second photo from All About Birds.