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Terry Clarke

Need assistance in identifying this hawk

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My home is located in a Kentucky city of 30,000, Ashland (located in the far NE part of the state which touches WV and OH). Though there is nearby industry and retail development, my 5 lots are fairly isolated with many mature walnut, maple, oak and pine trees and plenty of shrubbery, both high (burning bush) and a century-old honeysuckle bush/tree and lower landscaped plantings. I have many bird-feeders scattered throughout my yard which attract a wide variety of birds, e.g., yesterday, I photographed a Dark-eyed Junco, an Eastern Towhee, a Song Sparrow, pairs of Downy Woodpeckers and Tufted Titmice, a Red-Bellied Woodpecker, a White-Crowned Sparrow and a Song Sparrow.

Late this morning (11:00-11:15), Nov. 20, 2018, I peeked outside to see a large hawk on the ground with its prey, a pigeon. I have seen a few hawks nearby, but never in my yard. I’m including pics of it below.

I appreciate any assistance  you can provide me in identifying this hawk (my Merlin Bird ID and iBird Photo Sleuth apps have analyzed the various pics I took this morning as a Northern Goshawk, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Broad-winged Hawk).

The only perspective I can provide on the hawk’s size is its comparison to its pigeon prey it is grasping and its location, adjacent to the 25’ DBH maple tree.

* I apologize for my too-detailed narrative, but in my defense, I was an environmental attorney during my many working years before health setbacks forced my retirement.



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I like the Cooper's theory.  The tail is clearly that of an accipiter.  A sharpie wouldn't be that much bigger than a pigeon, among other differences, and a goshawk would have wavy dark tail bands with white edges as seen from above.  But see what others say.

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