Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)

Image of a Cooper's Hawk study skin.
Image of a Cooper's Hawk study skin.
Kennicott's legacy

This study skin of a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) was collected in the northern Chicago suburb of Northfield, Illinois, in 1855 by Robert Kennicott, a well-known Illinois naturalist and one of the founders of the Chicago Academy of Sciences.

Kennicott extensively studied Illinois’ fauna, discovering many new species in the process, some of which bear his name in their Latin format, such as the Stripe-tail Darter (Etheostoma kennicotti) and the Western Screech Owl (Otus kennicotti). Kennicott is also remembered for leading the first U.S. scientific study of Russian-America, now known as Alaska.

Cooper’s Hawks live throughout Illinois year-round. They’re fairly common in the greater Chicago region, acclimating well to leafy city neighborhoods and suburbs that provide accommodating habitat shared by many smaller birds, ones that often fall prey to these hunters.