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Hawk from San Francisco Bay Area

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I saw this very small hawk in the Palo Alto, CA.  It was hunting close to the ground and looked like it had relatively narrow swept back wings.  I thought it might be a sharp shinned hawk but I read that those have relatively broad wings. Any help in identifying the bird would be most appreciated! Thanks!

Chris

 

1626179155_Unknownhawk.thumb.jpg.5cd4bc0fa9e0a2e15169f2e2c1db89a8.jpg

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I honestly don't know, but I'm actually leaning Cooper's.  If it is a Sharp-shinned, those are the stockiest legs I've ever seen on one.  Young western Cooper's Hawks can have the blotchy streaking like that and males are smaller and can have larger eyes and rounder heads.  I'd like to see more opinions on this one.

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I honestly don't know, but I'm actually leaning Cooper's.  If it is a Sharp-shinned, those are the stockiest legs I've ever seen on one.  Young western Cooper's Hawks can have the blotchy streaking like that and males are smaller and can have larger eyes and rounder heads.  I'd like to see more opinions on this one.

Check out this link - Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk Go to "Juvenile streaking patterns"

It is definitely a Sharp-shinned Hawk. The leg size is not always a dependable ID mark.

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Posted (edited)

The head is more round than flat.

Are a Sharpie's legs the same dimensions all the way around?  Are they maybe wide from front to back and narrow from side to side?

If those are conventional barbed-wire posts, the gap between each strand is 4".  The bird would appear to be 8" or 9" tall.  Even for a young male bird, wouldn't that be more in Sharpie size than Cooper's?

Edited by Charlie Spencer

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The barbed-wire is not typical; this is set on angled supports at the top of a tall fence that whomever really wants no trespassers. Narrower

15 hours ago, Jefferson Shank said:

Check out this link - Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk Go to "Juvenile streaking patterns"

This is a guide, at best; there is much more variation in both than indicated here.

I like the tawny aspect to the the head, the deep head (front to back), the curve and attachment of the bill lining up with the curve of the head, the thick legs, the long tail, the seemingly rounded tips to at least some of the tail feathers as support for Cooper's.

Some of the above features may simply be due to ephemeral posture oddities, which is why it is always "dangerous" to base an identification on just one photo.

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My take... I like Cooper's from this pic as well. Appears to have long rounded white tipped tail, legs thickness, and head size are good points. And yes the west coast Cooper's can have thicker streaking than typical birds.  @cam... if you have any other pics, please post them.

 

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Posted (edited)
 

The barbed-wire is not typical; this is set on angled supports at the top of a tall fence that whomever really wants no trespassers. Narrower

This is a guide, at best; there is much more variation in both than indicated here.

I like the tawny aspect to the the head, the deep head (front to back), the curve and attachment of the bill lining up with the curve of the head, the thick legs, the long tail, the seemingly rounded tips to at least some of the tail feathers as support for Cooper's.

Some of the above features may simply be due to ephemeral posture oddities, which is why it is always "dangerous" to base an identification on just one photo.

@Tony Leukering, Are you leaning toward Cooper's or Sharp-shinned?

Edited by Jefferson Shank

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2 hours ago, Jefferson Shank said:

@Tony Leukering, Are you leaning toward Cooper's or Sharp-shinned?

I think Tony already answered your question.

7 hours ago, Tony Leukering said:

I like the tawny aspect to the the head, the deep head (front to back), the curve and attachment of the bill lining up with the curve of the head, the thick legs, the long tail, the seemingly rounded tips to at least some of the tail feathers as support for Cooper's.

 

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Posted (edited)

For what its worth, my first impression was Sharp-shinned Hawk here. The bill juts out from the rounded head, unlike Cooper's Hawk which has a boxier head which clines more smoothly into the bill. The overall size and bulk (or lack thereof) seem to suggest Sharp-shin to me personally as well. Cooper's out here can have fairly coarse streaking on the underparts, but usually without the cross-barring seen on this bird, which also suggests Sharp-shinned to me.

Also OP made a point of noting that this hawk was "very small"... but I suppose we know that can be unreliable

 

Edited by AlexHenry
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For what its worth, my first impression was Sharp-shinned Hawk here. The bill juts out from the rounded head, unlike Cooper's Hawk which has a boxier head which clines more smoothly into the bill. The overall size and bulk (or lack thereof) seem to suggest Sharp-shinned to me personally as well. Cooper's out here can have fairly coarse streaking on the underparts, but usually without the cross-barring seen on this bird, which also suggests Sharp-shinned to me.

Also OP made a point of noting that this hawk was "very small"... but I suppose we know that can be unreliable

I agree with @AlexHenry.

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