Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks


You guys all know how much I love to photograph raptors.  I have posted many images of Red-tailed Hawks several times during the history of this blog.  Today I will feature several photos of the Cooper’s Hawk and of the Sharp-shinned Hawk.  These hawks are some of favorites along side of the red-tailed.  In fact, the sign on the side of my car features a Cooper’s Hawk, as do my business cards.

The following photographs were taken over the past few years.  There is much similarity between the Cooper’s Hawk and the Sharp-shinned Hawk.  The difficulty in making the right ID has me hoping that I made the right choice in naming these.

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

On a side note, when I photographed the top image, I was at the bird blind at San Angelo State Park.  Sitting next to me, co-incidentally, was Jim Miller, a fellow blogger and photographer from San Antonio, Texas.  Somewhere in his files, he has a photo nearly identical to mine.

The following is an image that I believe to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk.  You can see and understand the difficulty in identifying these two species.  I am sure that there will be letters and controversy after I post this.  It would have been easier if I had a photo of the both of them, sitting side by side.  It would show that the Cooper’s Hawk is a good 5 inches taller than the Sharp-shinned Hawk.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Red-shouldered Hawk

I was, at first, reluctant to post the last, (above) photo.  Simply because I had clipped the tail.  But upon further consideration, I felt that it was too good an image to just discard it.

So, enjoy the photos.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.