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Merlin in Santa Clara, CA?

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Not sure if direct links to google photo are going to work. if they don't pictures are here:


Yesterday, I heard an unusual shriek, which surprised me because I rarely see any bird of prey here, Santa Clara, California. Well sure enough, this morning I saw a medium sized bird whoosh by with pointy wings and got these bad pictures from very far away:



I am thinking female merlin? That would be a first for me and a bit of a surprise in a fairly urban area. A lost young one? Migratory?

Hear my prayer, O Gods of Ornithology! Also please confirm the links are working.

PS: what's up with whatbird.com? Will it come back?

Thanks all and happy sightings.


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I thought about the Cooper's as a good second guess, especially with all the white spots but my guide shows thinner dark band tails.

Thanks for the explanation, we have too many ducks and geese because people feed them, I hope Mrs and Mr hawks find a nice pad in the area (and I can get better shots).

I think that was a Cooper's in San Diego:

Cooper's hawk (fr: épervier de Cooper, lat: accipiter cooperii)


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I think the long body, short wings, long tail, long thin legs, white undertail coverts, flat topped head and chunky bill are all better for a Cooper's Hawk than a Merlin. We may get additional opinions though.

I agree photo 3 is a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.

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