Adapted from Jim Conrad's online book A Birding Trip through Mexico, This excerpt from "The Pine Forest of Lake Arareko" near Copper Canyon
THE COOPER'S HAWK
In mid morning I sit on a log, letting sunlight warm me. Then there's movement to the left, and not five car-lengths away an immature Cooper's Hawk with its brown-spotted breast and brown back and tail alights on the forest floor. With a wingspread of 70 centimeters (28 inches) the bird immediately stretches wide its wings as if to fly but instead starts hopping across the ground with its wings spread. It passes not two car-lengths before me, and continues on perfectly oblivious to my presence, always with its wings open.
Cooper's Hawks are streamlined beautifully for rapid flight, but on the ground this one looks as if it's constantly about to stumble. Cooper's Hawks have long legs, so this one looks like a wobbly clown on stilts. For the length of a large house the young hawk hops and wobbles with its wings spread wide, then vanishes over an outcrop of basalt, and when I go looking, is gone.
Back on the log I sit trying to figure it all out. Surely the young bird had been hunting. It had hopped with the sun behind it, so any animal on the forest floor looking toward it might have been partially blinded. Maybe it spread its wings only to stabilize itself during its clumsy run. It had not seemed to be using its wings to keep its equilibrium.
I have never seen or read of a raptor behaving like this. It was a wonderful thing to see.