CLOSED: Hawk ID

Linthicum Heights, MD(Zone 7a)

Outside of the Red-tailed Hawk, I have difficulty in identifying most hawks even using a bird book. I took this photo on Saturday but uncertain which hawk it is. It was smaller than most hawks so I thought that it may be a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, but uncertain. Your thoughts, please.

Thumbnail by linthicum
Marlton, NJ

Linth, thats a tremendous photo!!!!! Isn't this a juvenile Coopers?

Linthicum Heights, MD(Zone 7a)

pelletory, you may be right. Here's a photo of him/her from behind. I know that the tail feathers are supposed to have some slight differences between the two species.

Thumbnail by linthicum
Marlton, NJ

Sorry Linth I don't mean to keep you waiting. I'm still searching for pics of the tails somewhere,lol.

Marlton, NJ

I'm certainly not a Hawk expert but this really looks like a Coopers to me. I think the SS has a sort of notch cutout in the middle bottom of the tail..

Linthicum Heights, MD(Zone 7a)

I agree. One of the characteristics mentioned in one of my bird books states "The Cooper's is best distinguished from the Sharp-Shinned by it's rounded tail". My second photo clearly shows a rounded tail.

Thanks.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

It's a mini Cooper....juvie.. The Sharp-Shinned has prominent sharp chins. It doesn't squat like a Coop.

I see a lot of this one...
:-)

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Here is the example you mentioned linth.. the tail...

Cooper Hawk

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
Marlton, NJ

Mini Cooper,lol

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Here is the back, (tail) view of Sharp-Shinned to compare.

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Think, the difference/s may be more associated to the streaking on the breast. See what you guys think ..

The Sharp-shinned has coarse brown streaks, where the Coopers will have thin dark streaks. I may be mistaken, mindja .. but I tend to agree with pelletory: it looks like yours (Linth) may be a Coopers Hawk. Feel free to set me strait ..

- Magpye

Thumbnail by Magpye
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Here's the Cooper from the front in the squatting position.. taken with the one 2 pics up.

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
Marlton, NJ

I like to tell them apart better from the front too. I have a photo of a ss on my fence but its really terrible so I won't post it. Isn't the coloring on theirs heads different also?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Yes coarse brown streaks, more like a brindle even...
SS Hawk front.... His chins are always showing:-)

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Wow! Awesome pics, everyone! And so much expertise! Oh no, a new addiction (on top of the gardening)... I'm already loving learning from all of you!

Brenda

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Definatly difference in the clearer streaks ... and coarse streak (brindley).

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Brenda,
I love your other hawk thread, those are magnificent!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I haven't ever seen a Sharp Shinned with white spots on the back either, they are sleeker more solid gray color...

:> I love these hawks!

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Linth you mentioned Red Tailed is one you can ID well.. Look at this one and tell... pretty please? These are ones I see a lot, but not up close and personal.. only a few legible pics to use for identification.

First saw him in the air and got an ok shot.. then got back in my car and drove on my way home. Then I saw he had been going the same direction as me for about 3 miles... Had to pull off the road and get a shot when he landed on a wire shown here...

In a car, from across busy a highway through the window... (no snow though, Mags lol.)

:-)

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Here is the one of him flying... before I got on the highway. Wish it was a better shot..

Thumbnail by debnes_dfw_tx
NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

I'm still waiting on our snow, debnes .. (hee)

Some wonderful shots of the hawk .. I'm thinkin' he's a red-tailed, but I'm not sure, mindja!! ..

See if this heps ya out any tho' .. {I've been a 'scannin' my wee lil ol heart out today, I tell ya!!} .. LOL

((huggs))

- Magpye

Thumbnail by Magpye
NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Eeek .. the print's mitey small! Try these .. instead.

- Magpye

#1

Thumbnail by Magpye
NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

#2 .. the other side

Thumbnail by Magpye
Phoenix, AZ

Now see, I'm thinkin' sharp-shinned. I am, however, probably wrong! I am so much better at accipiters in my back yard... :) I sent it, along with the one in flight, to my ace birding friend, Christie. The one in flight is plenty good enough for her. Probably won't get an answer until tomorrow.

Phoenix, AZ

This is a SS in my backyard a few years ago--very, very bad pic. I don't go by the stripes as much as the shape of the head and size of bird.

Thumbnail by magpied
Phoenix, AZ

Another sharp-shinned...
I think this bird's a female but I *swear* I have Alzheimer's!!!


This message was edited Jan 1, 2007 11:02 PM

Thumbnail by magpied
Phoenix, AZ

Another view of 2nd bird...
We have some serious eating going on here. When I began taking pics, I didn't realize it had a bird... a white-crowned sparrow, I think :(


This message was edited Jan 1, 2007 11:01 PM

Thumbnail by magpied
Tonasket, WA(Zone 5a)

Linthicum, What would you think the wingspread is of your hawk. Looks too large to me to be a Sharpie. It is such a wonderful shot of the hawk, can see his feathers so easily, but the coloring seems so light for a Sharpie. Do the Sharp Shinned hawks go through a light morph. It looks similar in color to the Northern Goshawk, but may be smaller.

The Red Tailed Hawks here are in a very white morph color now, seen from underneath are all white. The other day when I was going to town I saw 6 hawks in the first mile away from my house. 3 Red Tails, 2 smaller farther away that I couldn't identify and one Kestrel.

With all the snow on the ground, 12 to 14 inches, I am sure the hawks are having a difficult time finding lunch.

Donna

Phoenix, AZ

I know I don't go by color because it's too variable.

Goshawks are larger and marked differently; here's Christie's (female) imprint, Jezebel :)



Thumbnail by magpied
Phoenix, AZ

/|| "The Sharp-Shinned has prominent sharp chins."

Okay... Are you saying it's double-chinned? ;-)

Phoenix, AZ

Deb, the pics in your posts of 8:43 PM & 8:59 PM are birds in *adult* plumage, not juvenal plumage. Note the different/lighter color of streaking as you describe--and the streaking is more horizontal than vertical. If you already know this, forgive me :)

This message was edited Jan 1, 2007 11:23 PM

Phoenix, AZ

COOPS vs. SHARPS Gonna muddle this up a bit more. :) This is from 'The Western Bird Watcher' (Zimmer), which contains some info on tough ID problems.

Sharpies...relative to body size have proportionately long wings and short tails. Cooper's...proportionately short wings and longish tails (relative to body length).

Most guides point to the difference in tail shape as the best separator of Sharpies & Coops. Cooper's have rounded tails while Sharpies have tails that are typically either squared or notched at the end. While such distinctions are often useful, they are far from diagnostic. Many Sharpies have tails that are slightly rounded, especially when fanned. A distinctly squared tail will probably allow elimination of Cooper's, but a rounded tail does not safely eliminate Sharp-shinned. Cooper's of all ages have a broader, more defined white terminal band to the tail.

Cooper's of all ages have relatively massive heads (most apparent on perched birds), but the heads of Sharpies are relatively small. In flight, this results in the head of Cooper's extending much farther forward from the leading edge of the wing. Relative to head size, the eye of the Coops appears small, lending a fierce look. Contrastingly, the eye of the Sharp-shinned is large relative to head size, giving a more gentle look.

Adult Cooper's have very blackish caps that show a sharp line of contrast with the slate gray backs. Adult Sharpies are not nearly as dark-capped and show little or no cap-back contrast.

Juvenile Cooper's tend to be very buffy or tawny on the head and neck, whereas juvenile Sharpies are whiter. Breast streaking on young Cooper's is finer and sharper and does not extend to the belly. Young Sharpies are more extensively streaked below, and the streaks are larger and blurrier in nature. Bother species typically have unmarked white undertail coverts.

Nantucket, MA(Zone 7a)

The size could be helpful as a sharp shinned is smaller than cooper's , but the range can overlap ( a big sharp shinned = to a small copper's) however if this guy was the size of a crow rather than a blue jay and given it's tail shape and smallish eye and the fact that the cooper's is more common, then my money is on a juv cooper's. But the real winner is the first photograph by linthicum. Terrific. Thanks, Patti

This message was edited Jan 3, 2007 10:06 AM

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Isn't this fun? Nice hawk pics Magpied..

We just love hawks!

Thanks Magpye, for the help with my RT pics... I appreciate all the scans (your all heart)!
When I saw it in the sunlight, the *tell-tail* (lol) redsish tinge made me think RT. It's always good to get a second opinion or 2 or 3, hehe.

I was actually wondering what linth thought too. :-)

o/

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Some wonderful pics, debnes & magpied ..

I knew that you had inquired of linthicum specifically, Debnes .. I'd just wanted to present some scans to maybe aid you also, before I called it a nite. Please know, that It haint been my intent to try to jump ahead of anyone. ((huggs))

This forum ... has been looooooong overdue!!

- Magpye

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Your a sweetheart Mags, I really loved the scans.. they were verrrry helpful!

:>

Phoenix, AZ

linthicum, the bird perched at the top o' this thread is an immature sharpie. (from the expert, not moi.)

Phoenix, AZ

I didn't realize your question was addressed to linth, either. (expert confirms it's a redtail, though :)

Marlton, NJ

magpied, do you know if their using the shape of beak/head as a reference?

Marlton, NJ

what???? LOL

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