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Hawk help, please!


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Immature Accipiters, man. It's not THE hardest ID to do, but it sure is up there sometimes! I keep going back and forth on this one. The first picture, the expression looks very much like a Cooper's hawk, but the second pic looks more like a Sharpie. 

Edited by meghann
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It is very confusing to me as we have both types around here. I read somewhere that there is a difference in the head shape--this one seems to have a longish head with a flat top. 

I sure appreciate the input.  This bird (and maybe others) have been after my elderberry tree full of warblers. It is fascinating to watch all the little birds at the ends of the branches looking at the hawk.

I tried to get the tail, and only got it from the side. 

Terry

HawkIDWB.jpg

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In this photo it appears that the tail feathers are uneven (graduated) which would indicate Cooper's, but I'm not sure if they are or if it's the color of the banding that makes them look that way. I'm with meghann, back and forth on this one, but now I'm leaning Cooper's.

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What about the head shape?  It doesn't have nicely rounded head for sure. I've been looking on the web and found this on the Audubon site:

On perched birds, consider the shape of the head. The Cooper’s Hawk has a big ol’ dome that's sort of like a block stacked on top of its body. It’s the kind that makes you think, “Wow, look at the head on that thing!” Sharpies, on the other hand, have small, smoothly rounded heads—the kind where you’re like, “Oh, that just looks like a normal bird head.” Gut reaction is helpful

It was also larger than a crow. So maybe leaning towards Cooper's is the right direction.

Thank you for your assistance. 

Terry

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I also agree with TBN.  Streaking aside, the graduated tail feathers and raised hackles (giving that flat top look) make this a cooper's IMO.....BUT, that slender middle toe..... and female sharpies can show a certain amount of tail graduation.  

Scott

Edited by cavan wood
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59 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

This is a Cooper's -- the head is flat on top and blocky and the tail feathers are very uneven.  I notice that young western Cooper's tend to have thicker streaking.

Another sign for Cooper's is that the forehead makes a continuous line with the top of the bill.  And the bill is pretty big.  Both of those are clearest in the picture in the comments.

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