Offering a variety of habitat ranging from mature forest to open pasture, the Gettysburg National Military Park is home to many species of animals including amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. This post focuses on the park’s Cooper’s Hawks.
Agile and skillful fliers, Cooper’s Hawks mainly hunt birds. A medium sized hawk, Cooper’s Hawks are significantly smaller than the park’s much larger red-tail hawks. A very adaptable bird, Cooper’s hawks can be found everywhere from subdivisions to deep forests. Smaller and stealthier, they are harder to find, but keep your eyes open and you may be rewarded by getting to see this amazing hunter. In flight, Cooper’s use a flap-flap-glide flight style. You can also pick them out by their long tails in flight.
Best Places to See Them: I have seen Cooper’s Hawks most frequently at Gettysburg on South Confederate Avenue and in the D-Shaped (Slyder) Field. This bird was photographed near Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Division monument on South Confederate Avenue near Bushman Hill. I have also occasionally seen them hanging around town where they probably pick off birds from bird feeders (Cooper’s are notorious for this).