Coopers Hawk vs. Buff Orpingtons?


10 Years
Jan 9, 2010
Had a big Coopers Hawk swoop in low across one of my pastures. The smart hens ran for cover and stayed under, but is a Coopers hawk big enough to take on one of my 8 lb buff orpingtons, or is it just wishful thinking on the hawk's part? (for the record, I gathered the hens and sent them back into the coop for the rest of the day!!!)
If the Coopers hawk can latch on the orphington's back and does not have to contend with counter attacks by other birds, then the hawk can prevail. The 8 lb orphington outweighs even an adult female Coopers by 6 to 8 fold so, if former can drag fight into heavy bush where chicken can bury head, neck and other vitals, then the hawk may not be able to do further significant damage with its bill and chicken likely to prevail. Talons alone of such a hawk will not stop chicken unless hawk happens to get such a large chicken by neck or head.

Mind you, hawks are good at using mechanical advantage when holding larger prey with talons in such a manner making it difficult for prey to drag hawk. A falconer will likely verify.
NO a coopers hawk would never attack an adult standard chicken that size ever a goshawk might people here confuse coopers hawk with ghoshawks which is why they say coopers hawk will take on adult chickens silly BYB'ers
Thanks for your feedback - after doing some more reading, I think this may not have been a Cooper's Hawk. This thing had a wing span of at least 3 feet, maybe 3 1/2. I had ruled out a Red Shouldered hawk because the underbelly was so pale, and the Northern Goshawk does not seem to be well known in this area (Charlotte, NC). But based on size, I think I am going with the Red-Shouldered. I guess in the end it may not matter, it was after my hens and therefore, it's on the Unwanted List!!

Cooper's Hawk
Length 14.6–15.4 in
Wingspan 24.4–35.4 in
Relative Size - Larger than a Sharp-shinned Hawk and about crow-sized, but males can be much smaller
Red tailed hawks are a very large breed you cannot go by what is common to you at this moment as all birds are in there migratory pattern at this time. you will see things you never saw in your area before if they chose to travel threw your path. we have very few eagles in oklahoma but we see plenty of them during migration.
My first loss was to a Cooper's hawk. I tell folks here all the time- Do not be deceived by the small size of a Cooper's hawk. They are called "chicken hawks" for a very good reason. The hawk that attacked my full-grown Wyandotte hen was literally half the size of the hen in question. The hawk ripped her apart. She survived but had to be re-homed when her flock would not accept her back after months of isolation and care.

My second loss was to a migrating red-tailed hawk this time last year. We don't usually have them hanging around because we have a couple nesting pairs of broad-shouldered hawks living in our area, and they tend to keep other hawks out of their territory.
Like the above poster, don't underestimate a cooper's hawk. I've felt what talons can do. On another note, my local area is filled with red-shouldered hawks. Their wingspan at the biggest is maybe 2 1/2 feet. When perched, they are still small-ish. The local red-shoulders have NEVER gone after or even glanced at my 5 standard hens. One did attack when they were 7 weeks old though. Oh, and another thing. You WILL now if you have red-shouldered hawks, these things never shut up and are constantly screaming.

There's a little player on the middle of the page which will allow you to hear the call of a red-shouldered. This is also my favorite site for IDing birds.
You are completely wrong! I had a coopers hawk that was taking doves at one of my bird feeders and he then graduated to one of my full grown Black Australorp hens. I saw it attack her! My barn is about 40 yards from my house so by the time I got there it was too late for her, but the hawk just flew up into a pine tree and watched me clean up its mess. In our area, Red Tails are by far the biggest pain in the rear but dont over look the little guys either. They are well aware of what they can do with those talons.
A few years back, don't know which hawk it was but it attacked one of my cochin pullets and killed her. The hawk had to drag it using wings feet and dragging it as it was "heavy" for the hawk. Any animal that is hungry enough will not pass up an opportunity to have a meal. Especially young or old and hungry.

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