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Sharp-shinned Hawk?


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#1 jblakelock

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:10 AM

Saw this one in my yard today in Pleasant Hill, CA. I'm thinking Sharpie. It has a dark neck, but I guess it could be a juvenile Cooper's. Also seems to have thin legs and squarish tail, but not sure what qualifies as a squared tail. Just how square does it have to be? Can't decide if the eyes look buggy or not. Thanks.


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DSCN7209 by JJB1998, on Flickr


Posted Image
DSCN7208 by JJB1998, on Flickr
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#2 creeker

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:34 AM

Looks pretty "Cooper'sish to me from this angle.
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#3 IvoryBillHope

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:15 PM

The tail looks rounded, so I am thinking Cooper's as well.

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#4 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:30 PM

Agreed, eye placement and shorter outer tail feathers point to a Cooper's. It's an immature, so nape color isn't all that useful.

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#5 jblakelock

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:35 PM

Thanks so much for all the help, and for setting me straight. The nape color definitely threw me off.
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#6 Guest_Birdluvr_*

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:38 PM

i hate to disagree but this looks more sharpie to me, thin legs, tail looks more squared off to me. the eyes look set back on the head also. i know someone here keeps mentioning not always use thin legs as a reliable field mark but generally, according to allaboutbirds website, it is a reliable field mark and i use it often. some of the best birders out there that i know use it also. theres a picture of a hawk on allaboutbirds website(tricky bird id's) that looks exactly like this. the picture shows on that website shows a larger head and roundish tail but because the legs are thin, they id'd it as a sharpie

#7 Guest_Birdluvr_*

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:39 PM

The yellowish eyes confirm that this is a juvenile, which makes the light coloring on the back of the neck irrelevant. The tail appears rounded, but only a couple of feathers are visible. Although the head appears large, the body shape, the lack of white at the tip of the tail, and the very thin legs confirm that this is a Sharp-shinned Hawk (quoted directly from that website)

this is a sharp shinned according to allaboutbirds and i agree due to the thin legs.

http://www.birds.cor...rolTaskin06.jpg

#8 creeker

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

I'm looking at the tail in the first pic. I definitely see a shorter outer feather on the left. So now, what is more reliable, shorter outer tail feathers or thin legs with nothing to compare it to? Not arguing, just supporting the first ID. :)
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#9 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:51 PM

Personally, I don't think this bird's legs look that thin at all. They seem just right for a Cooper's.

i hate to disagree but this looks more sharpie to me, thin legs, tail looks more squared off to me.


The outer tail feathers are clearly shorter in both shots of this bird, which yields a "rounded" tail. The feathers tips are also quite rounded. This bird also has the classic "peaked" head shape of a Cooper's clearly visible in the first shot. I don't see any reason to not call this an immature Cooper's Hawk.

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#10 Guest_Birdluvr_*

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

im not trying to argue either, im just stating what my observations are. :) i feel im getting better at distinguishing the differences but some are still tricky for me. im still learning even though i've been birdwatching for years. :) i dont claim to be an expert, alot of species are still tricky for me and alot of times bypass them..lol some flycatchers, some gulls, and female ducks.. all of those are tricky in my opinion. even some species of sparrows. i am learning alot on here though, thank you everyone :)

#11 creeker

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:12 PM

im not trying to argue either, im just stating what my observations are. :) i feel im getting better at distinguishing the differences but some are still tricky for me. im still learning even though i've been birdwatching for years. :)


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#12 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:36 PM

As for previous comments about caution using the leg thickness, let me clarify that no one is saying not to use leg size in identification. However, leg width can be tricky to use when a photo shows an accipiter straight-on, since the tarsi are laterally compressed and will look very thin on all species from that angle. From a side angle like this, they should be easier to use as a complementary mark. I wouldn't ever base an ID primarily on leg thickness in a photo, though, since the viewing angle can dramatically change their appearance, but they can be useful in conjunction with other marks.

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#13 JimBob

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:18 PM

I agree, that bird is 100% Cooper's IMO. And the legs look pretty hefty.

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