The Cooper's Hawk is a natural predator of almost any North American bird smaller than itself.
Typical prey species include American Robins, jays,woodpeckers, European Starlings, quail, icterids, cuckoos, pigeons and doves. Birds preyed on can range in size from wood-warblers to Ring-necked Pheasants. Cooper's will also prey upon their own cousin, the Sharp-shinned Hawk. Yuck.
Also, according to the Lab. of Ornithology at Cornell University, Cooper's have been known to rob nests and may supplement their diet with small mammals such as chipmunks, hares, mice, squirrels, and bats. Personally, I think they should add more pack rats to the diet! (That's another story).
Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, we've had the pleasure of watching this species hunt our back yard for many years. We've seen mamas, papas and babies come and go...taking with them many of "our" little yard birds. Yes. It's a part of the life cycle. However, I don't like that part. I've been known to run outside flapping my arms, yelling, "Noooo. Drop that bird now!" It doesn't help. They come right back.
Well, I decided to embrace the facts. I've taken many action shots this year. Some are better than others, but I will post all that I have, to show you the depth of my carnivorous experiences. Lucky you.
The birds may eat on the ground or carry its kill to a feeding spot, often a fence post or tree limb, where it plucks its prey and tears the meat apart with its beak. As I watched this bird plucking feathers, I was too shocked to get a better photo!