As humans continue to rapidly develop natural landscapes, understanding how urbanization affects native species becomes increasingly important. Exploring how animals use urban environments can help assess how urban development may affect them, especially when compared to their use of non-urban environments. We examined seasonal patterns of habitat selection and space use of adult, male Cooper's hawks (Accipiter cooperii) in an urban environment to evaluate how this native resident responds to urbanization. Patterns of space use and habitat selection were uniform in both the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Average size of home ranges was among the smallest reported for the species, and did not vary in the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Hawks selected land-use types containing large non-native trees and tracts of remnant native vegetation that supported abundant prey species, in both the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Consistency in habitat selection and space use across seasons, small space requirements, and high nesting density likely reflects the high productivity of this urban environment. Comparison of patterns of space use and demographic attributes to Cooper's hawks inhabiting natural environments suggests that habitat for Cooper's hawks in this urban environment may be of higher quality than in some undeveloped areas as a result of human landscaping activities. Although most native species are negatively impacted by urbanization, some species, such as Cooper's hawks, appear to benefit from the changes wrought by development. Investigating how anthropogenic activities influence space use of native species can help managers assess the quality of urban environments as habitat.
- Cooper's hawks
- Habitat quality
- Habitat selection
- Space use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law