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lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Does anyone know what kind of hawk this is?

Asked by lucillelucillelucille (27545points) May 12th, 2011

I think it is either a Cooper’s Hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk but I am not sure….anyone know?
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51 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Definitely one of the two. Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned hawks are very difficult to distinguish. Here’s a guide to differentiating. The hawk in the picture has a rounded tail tip, so I’d lean toward Cooper’s.

Cruiser's avatar

Looks like a Pelican or snowy owl to me! ;)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it’s an emu.

Jude's avatar

It’s a Cooper! I see them around here, too.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, I’d say Coopers, have lots of them as well.
Another identifying clue is that Coopers are woodland hawks and are often seen perching on fenceposts or in trees watching. Other species tend to hunt in open areas. But..not fool proof.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Cruiser annnnnnd….
@Adirondackwannabe
I believe it’s this

@everyone else…Thank you,I think you’re right! :))

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille LMAO
That one’s worth the price of admission for anyone else.Check it out.

Jude's avatar

Cooper’s Hawk taken around my neck of the woods.

Coloma's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille

LOL..quick call the rare bird alert, people will want to know where they can view Big Bird!
This has to be a North American phenomenon!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Jude -I was dive bombed by one a few years ago.They are beautiful and alittle bitchy!
@Coloma You will most likely find them in rush hour traffic or Walmart during the Xmas season! ;)

bkcunningham's avatar

Too funny @lucillelucillelucille. The tail of a Sharp-shinned Hawk is really squared off. The Cooper Hawk’s tail is rounded. The first photos you posted look like a Cooper to me. The other photo you posted looks like something from the comeback-alaffagotcha species usually found next to Mr. Hooper’s store.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I agree with Cooper, they are really common here, too. When I was doing long term home care I had a patient that used to feed them in his backyard. It was phenomenal to be able to get so close to them, they are absolutely beautiful animals.

Coloma's avatar

I had one a couple of summers ago that impaled a huge Gopher snake on the barbwire fence and sat there eating the still alive snake, alive. It was fascinating if not rather unsettling. Poor snake, still writhing around while the hawk tore it apart. :-(

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf -What did he feed them?
@Coloma -I got a pic of a red-tailed hawk gulping down a toad the other day.After it finished,it wiped it’s beak on a branch.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille raw chicken. He had a wooden T-shaped stand stuck in his yard. At the top on a platform was a rope that came through the bottom. We would tie a chicken leg or thigh onto the platform and the hawks would wait in the trees watching us. As soon as we took a few steps back they would swoop down and eat.

YoBob's avatar

I’ll second the Coopers’ Hawk identification.

here are some additional coopers hawk images.

crisw's avatar

Late in on this, but I agree with Cooper’s.

I used to work at a summer camp on Mt. Palomar in San Diego. One day I opened up the art room and there was a frantic Stellar’s jay darting around inside. It flew through the open door. Just outside, underneath a louvered window, was a dead Cooper’s hawk, its neck broken from crashing into the window. Smart jay.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf -That is very cool! Falconry is an interesting thing too:)
@YoBob -Thank you! I think that is what it is!
@crisw -Wow! Stellar’s Jays are beautiful!

bkcunningham's avatar

I knew of a man back home who fed them rabbits and other dead creatures on big high flagpole type structures on his property. The thing is, the “food” was laced with an outlawed insecticide, ie DDT. He was killing not only different types of hawks; but Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles to keep them from killing his fighting cocks. He’s serving time in federal prison now.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@bkcunningham ohh, now that is sad. :(

bkcunningham's avatar

It was sad. The neighbors had been trying to get his gamecock operation shut down for years. Have you ever seen one out in the country when they have roosters tethered to 55 gallon drums and the drums are turned on their sides? The roosters live there until fight night or until they are sold.

It isn’t illegal to breed gamecocks. It is just illegal to sale or fight them. The feds couldn’t catch him selling the fighting or fighting the cocks. But they investigated when they caught word he was poisoning migratory birds with an outlawed insecticide. Let’s just say, certain FBI and state police investigators had, how do I say this politely, a hard-on for the guy.

thorninmud's avatar

Cooper’s hawks are colloquially known as “chicken hawks” out in the country. My Grandfather kept a double-barrel shotgun next to the door for them and the starlings that raided his beloved bluebird boxes.

Coloma's avatar

@thorninmud

Yep, I had one try to take off with one of my bantam chickens but it couldn’t get lift off. My little rooster was just humiliated but uninjured. haha

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Coloma-My niece watched a broad-winged hawk take off with one of her chickens,drop it,then come back and grab it.
My sister’s neighbor had a chihuahua that a red-tailed hawk tried to get.
There are some fierce birds out there! You have golden eagles where you are,don’t you? I see baldies once in awhile where I am at.

crisw's avatar

When I was biking in the Sacramento delta a couple of months ago, a juvenile bald eagle was standing in the road ahead of me and took off as I approached. That sucker was big!

YoBob's avatar

My wife and I had a golden eagle soar past just a couple of hundred yards in front of us while we were standing on the rim of the black canyon. I could almost hear it saying “Nanny, nanny boo boo… you can’t get your camera out in time!”.

(Actually, I think it might have been eying our black lab mix as dinner when it noticed at the last minute she was attached to a long leash!)

Coloma's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille
Yes, they are around, and the occasional Bald eagle waaay up in the mountains.

Tons of Turkey Vultures too, always eating dead sqiurrels in the road. lol

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@crisw -I saw one the other day while driving.I know approximately where it’s nest is and could probably find it,given enough time.During winter,I see them on the ice floes in the river.
@YoBob -I don’t doubt that! XD There are some wild videos about golden eagles on YouTube.
@Coloma -There is a farmhouse nearby that they like to perch on.I wonder if they’re waiting

Coloma's avatar

@crisw

Wow! A Bald Eagle in the delta? How cool is that? I’d never have thought! The only ones I have seen have been around/above the 6000 ft. level in the Sierras.

bkcunningham's avatar

I had been watching a live cam of a Bald Eagle in Hampton Roads, Va. It is the second year I’ve watched. Both years there have been three eaglets. Last year, I watched one hatch and all three fledge. It was awesome. I’ve watched this year with the same delight and addiction.

About two weeks ago, the mother was killed by a plane coming into the airport. The nest is near the Norfolk International Airport. Sadly, her previous mate was killed in the same manner. She found her new mate many years ago and they have returned to this nest year-after-year.

Her mate came back to the nest to tend to the eaglets, but experts monitoring the nest relocated the eaglets. They were worried the lone father wouldn’t be able to feed and defend his young. You know what, I know it is silly. But I actually cried that morning when I watched them take those silly eaglets down out of the nest.

It was a wonderful experience witnessing (even if it was over the Internet) the eagles for two years. I hope the male eagle does okay and finds another mate. I know he will, but it just seemed sorta sad.

I’ve seen birds like this in person my entire life. It is amazing to observe and sad when humans, the more intelligent of the species, deliberately harm these magnificent creatures.

crisw's avatar

@Coloma

Yep, I had to look it up to verify what I saw- since it was an immature, it was all brown, like a golden eagle, so I wanted to be sure of my ID. Apparently, they breed in the Delta. It does make sense; their main food is fish, and there are plenty of fish there! After this one took off, it cast back and forth across the water in the levee I was next to, which pretty much convinced me it was a bald eagle and not a golden :>)

bkcunningham's avatar

@Coloma and @crisw, Bald Eagles are found all over the US, coastal Alaska, southern Canada and northern Mexico where there are large bodies of water. The young or fledgling Golden Eagle has a crown of feathers on the head and neck, and also has feathers all the way to its toes. The Bald Eagle has featherless feet.

crisw's avatar

@bkcunningham

In most of California, they are seasonal and don’t breed. What I had to be sure of was that they bred in the Delta. This guy didn’t let me get close enough to see his head or feet that clearly!

Coloma's avatar

The Bald Eagles I saw were Loon Lake in the Sierras a few years ago. Yes, they were fishing on the lake, but a rival Osprey grabbed a trout right out from under them. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw, it is a staggering site, isn’t it? I know they are year round resident in the higher elevations of California.

crisw's avatar

@Coloma

Ospreys are way cool. For some reason, they are becoming far more common in San Diego. There’s a pair that nests on a platform built on a phone pole at a park I like to bike past in Chula Vista.

And, a few months ago, I was biking at a local lake when I saw no fewer than seven ospreys circling over the lake! I’ve never seen such a thing- no idea what caused such a concentration.

bkcunningham's avatar

@crisw, “I’ve never seen such a thing- no idea what caused such a concentration.” Food!!

crisw's avatar

@bkcunningham

I don’t know about that- none of them were fishing; they were just soaring. I think it might have been related to some kind of atmospheric phenomenon/wind currents; it was just before a storm, and there were other birds of prey in the same location at the same time- redtail hawks and turkey vultures. Very odd, whatever caused it.

Coloma's avatar

For all you savvy nature nuts…a bit of humor.
Had a city friend up for lunch and cocktails this afternoon.
We were sitting on my deck when she exclaimed ” OMG! Is that a WOLF!?”

It was a big Coyote who was creeping along the mule trail on the hill across from my deck above the “ravine of death.” My name for the killing field on my mountain.

She was beside herself…had to reassure her that there hasn’t been a Wolf in California for about as long as there has been no brown bears.

Bummer though…time to watch the cats again, tis the season.

bkcunningham's avatar

There are no wolves in California?

Coloma's avatar

Sadly no.

The last Wolf was trapped in the Lassen area of CA. in 1924. :-(

bkcunningham's avatar

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service reintroduced gray wolves back to Virginia a few years ago. They also did the same thing with elk.

Coloma's avatar

@bkcunningham

I’m all for it. I’d love to see brown bears back too.
Pretty ironic our state flag has the brown bear on it and the last one was killed around the turn of the century. Maybe CA. state flag should have a BMW or Mercedes on it now. lol

bkcunningham's avatar

It is ironic. Sad. I grew up in Virginia. Plenty of brown bears. I am now living in Florida (my husband just retired Yah!!) and the wildlife is amazing. I just discovered there are brown bear here in Florida.

crisw's avatar

@bkcunningham

“The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Forest Service reintroduced gray wolves back to Virginia”
I wish that were true, but I think you’re thinking of somewhere else. The only U.S. wolf reintroductions have been grey wolves in the Rockies, Mexican wolves in Arizona and red wolves (a completely different species than grey wolves) in North Carolina. There are no wild wolves in Virginia. There are Eastern coyotes, which do have wolf blood, but they were not introduced to Virginia.

crisw's avatar

@Coloma

I imagine you’ve read Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging? I think there are some griz reintroductions in there :>)

crisw's avatar

@bkcunningham

Oh, and wolves were never common in CA- my understanding is that they inhabited only the northeastern corner of the state. . But we did once have jaguars in the south… now that would be an impressive creature to have back on the landscape!

Coloma's avatar

@crisw

Yes, just a few isolated areas in the state. The San Bernadino range, Lassen and a few in the central Sierras way back when is my understanding. :-)

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