Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cooper's Hawk

Thinking that "pretty sure" isn't a good statement for what would be a new bird on the life list.  So here's the photo (click to enlarge), and my reasoning. 

Points for Sharp Shinned:  head looks small, possible white stripe above eye, body is wider towards the top (not tubular).

Points for Cooper's:  widest part of body is lower down (bird appears more barrel-shaped than narrow-waisted, although angle is awkward), tail appears more rounded than straight, white band on tip of tail is apparent, perching on fence post in the open, size (bird was definitely larger than a blue jay), eye is closer to beak (doesn't appear to be in the middle of the head)

Can't judge the legs or breast streaking, and since it appears to be a juvenile, can't use the nape color either.

These are the pages I used:

Identifying Cooper's And Sharp-shinned Hawks
Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks

Inspecting this photo has made me question a yard bird we had a couple of years ago, which I thought at the time was a Sharp-Shinned, however it was also quite large.  I have no photos though, and my memory is sketchy!  So that bird will remain a "don't know".

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