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Thread subject: Help with hawk ID
Name Date Message
Shelley 09/20/12 08:10 pm I went for a walk on Sunday when my mom was in town visiting. It was a perfect day for a hike and we had a great time. As we walked, I saw a large bird swoop down and land in a nearby tree. I snapped several shots but with the sun it was hard to see if and what I actually caught until I got home and downloaded the pictures. I have posted the best 2 and I am happy with them except for the fact that I have no idea what type of hawk it may be. I will admit that the only hawks I know for sure that I can identify with accuracy are osprey (yep, ;-)), bald eagles and red-tailed hawks. For the rest, I need help.

One friend here guessed a sharp-shinned, first year but that is way beyond my knowledge base.

Ok, featherheads, go for it:
Trishrg 09/20/12 10:35 pm Nice pics Shelley.
This is definitely an accipiter. Aside from the long banded tail, the fluffy white under tail feathers make it either a Cooper's or Sharpie.
It's tricky to tell a Sharp-shinned from a Cooper's. You say it was a large bird. Sharpies are smallish birds, but a large Sharp-shinned size could overlap with a male Cooper's hawk.
A Sharp-shinned usually has a more roundish head, as this bird appears to have.
I would agree with your friend's ID. .
I have Cooper's all over here, but I've only ever seen a Sharpie twice. Thet were much smaller than a Cooper's so it was easier to tell in person. Much more difficult from a photo for me.
Shelley 09/21/12 05:48 am Thanks, Trish. When I said *large*, I meant that only as compared to the smaller songbirds I always see. I knew it was a hawk of some sort just by the body language and manner of the way it landed. At this park, it is common to see Canada geese and mallard ducks everywhere; they are bold and totally unafraid of people. I could tell instantly that this wasn't a goose or duck. But this hawk landed on a tree fairly high up and a bit far away so I really am not able to judge its size accurately, certainly not enough to compare sizes between hawks.
martyc35 09/21/12 04:36 pm I knew if I just looked hard enough, I would find this diary that Lineatus did on Sharpies, with pics to help with Cooper's, juveniles, etc. And, voila, here it is:
Hope this helps. I have a Sharpie who comes to my yard looking for prey near the feeders. The local crows, jays, and even the hummers set up such a holler when he's around that it's hard to miss him. The other day he was harassed on and off for about five hours and I believe he finally had to leave hungry.
Shelley 09/21/12 08:25 pm Thanks for the link, Marty. I also found another great link that seems to confirm the ID of my bird as a sharpie:

The Raptor Trust

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