I had an experience yesterday which was both amazing and kind of strange.
Sarah and I went to a friend’s house for dinner. The area they live in is really open with large yards and few trees. As we walked up to the house I noticed some kind of raptor near the bushes next to the house. The sun wasn’t quite right and all I saw was a silhouette of a largish bird. I decided to get closer to see what it was. Turns out it was a huge Cooper’s hawk. I got within 10′ or so before it decided that was close enough <i>and it ran across the yard</i> (20 feet or so). I thought that was really weird, so I walked up to it again, and it ran a bit further. Walked up again and it flew the last few feet to some bushes, but pulled up short in front of them. I thought I could get close again and snuck around the bush, making sure I didn’t see it fly away. I came around the bush and it wasn’t there anymore. I walked up to where it had been standing and looked around. A second later it hopped up to the top of the bush, which is maybe 5′ tall, with it’s back to me. It was only 3′ or so away. I saw the striped tail but noticed the the eyes were brown and the breast was streaked with brown and thought that was strange – I found out when I got home those are characteristics of an immature bird. It looked at me for a few seconds, long enough for me to make those observations, pull my phone out and get it ready to take a photo, before lazily flying off to stand on the roof of the house across the street.
I posed this to the Arkansas Hawking Association forum to see what other people thought. It seems to me to be really strange behavior for a Cooper’s hawk. It might be that it’s an inexperienced juvenile and didn’t know how to handle the situation. I thought it might also be a case of acclimatization – it was in a suburban area and so around people a lot, maybe it’s just use to humans.