Here’s the deal. This is not a contest. However, I have a photo of what I think is a Cooper’s Hawk. Karen (her blog), sent me a photo of what appears to me to possibly be another Cooper’s. However, I am not certain, so I am posting both photos here. Now I know there are a lot of birders out there. I would like to hear from any/or all of you to read your opinions and comments. My photo on top. Karen’s on bottom.
There you have it. Based on what you see in these photos, what do you think they are. My personal opinion is that they are either Cooper’s Hawks, or Sharp-shinned Hawks. BTW, the bottom photo was taken in the eastern United States. The top one, of course, photographed here in San Angelo, Texas. Click on either of them to enlarge. So don’t be bashful, you won’t hurt anybody’s feelings. Just give us your opinion.
Wow, this really sparked a bird ID debate! Really neat! Well, we may never know for sure exactly what “my” bird was, but I was happy to take his or her picture. I’ll try my best to get another shot of the bird someday, and maybe we can have another birdy-debate. Thanks Bob! 🙂
Yes, it was definitely fun. We’ll do it again someday. You can just say if was a hawk of the Accipiter species. 🙂
I am in agreement..I think they are the same species..love the peek over the shoulder shot..
Thank you, Syl, for your comment. Whatever specie they are, they are beautiful, as all raptors are. 🙂
No idea, but this is a fun post. I love reading all the answers too. Amazing knowledge our there.
I agree Katie. Doing this is fun, and I certainly am getting a variety of opinions.
I believe your hawk is an immature Red-tailed Hawk, note how the wings almost reach the tail, in Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks the wing tips extend to just the length of the body of the bird. The bands on tail of your bird are narrow, in Cooper’s or Sharpies the bands would be wider. Also your bird has dark eyes, they would be pale for both Sharpies and Cooper’s juveniles.
Karen’s bird appears to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk, I would expect the tail to be longer for a Cooper’s. I see no evidence of a pale nape that Cooper’s Hawk adults have which points to Sharp-shinned who don’t have a pale nape. I think her bird is an adult female Sharp-shinned.
Mia, I certainly do respect your knowledge of these things. You make a valid point that it is an immature Red-tailed Hawk. My own ID was based on the breast pattern for one. However, on page 246 of my new Crosley guide, there is a photo of a juvie Red-shouldered Hawk, that looks nearly identical to my photo.
That certainly throws one more into the equation. However, having said that, from observing the bird during the photo session, I don’t believe it is a Red-shouldered.
A very interesting discussion. 🙂
I believe that you have there a couple of Merlins. Shorter tail, smaller in size, small beak, small streaks on chest. Bob’s is younger.
Thanks, H. J., but in this case, the hawk is too large for a Merlin.
There is a big difference in Cooper’s between the young and the mature, female and the male. And sharp-shinned are so close but their eyes are further back ( a little) and they are smaller. The head looks wrong on the first one to me. And the second, well, I’ve never seen one with the red head. If you want to compare, look at the immature Cooper’s on my blog under “Feelin’ Hawkish” and the more mature blue feathered under “Coffee Break.”
Your opinion certainly makes sense, too. So many different opinions here. It is certainly a fun discussion. Thank you.
I’d say they are both Cooper’s. Yours is a juvenile, hers is an adult.
I agree with you. That’s what I told Karen. But we decided to see what other thought. You know, as I, that hawk Id is difficult. Especially the Cooper’s and the Sharp-shinned. Thanks for your comment, Bruce.
Mr. Bob, yours kinda looks like a young Redtail…and I can’t say I have ever seen one like Karen’s.
Thanks, Raven. One other blogger thinks mine is a young Red-tailed, too.
Here’s a link to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology about how to ID these birds.
I cannot tell the difference myself.
Thanks for your comment.
I’m certainly not a bird expert, but they look the same; one is facing the camera and the other is peeking over its wing, showing its backside. Regardless, they are both good pics. to all bird lovers and wildlifers, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Ross McSwain, San Angelo
Thanks, Ross. Nice to put your comment in. And you said it all……
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours, too. 🙂