Thursday, November 15, 2012

Accipiter brain pain.

I was all ready to post about a couple recent birding outings, but when I got home from Broughton Beach today there was a bit of yard action.  I heard crows making a ruckus so I peeked out the front window just in time to see a Red-tailed Hawk cruise right over the front yard pursued by a few crows.  He landed out of sight to the east in my neighbor's tree.  Then as I was watching some flickers another hawk, an accipiter, came flying from the west.  He cruised over my yard, looped back around, and flew back across the yard and eventually south. 

I grabbed my camera in the middle of this and took some quick shots.  The first few made the tail look quite squarish, making me think Sharp-shinned.  Later shots made the tail look rounded and the head bigger.  Argh.  Help me.


Please help, my brain hurts. 

8 comments:

  1. Ouch! This is a toughie.

    I sure want to say Sharp-shinned as well. That tail is very squared off, and I feel like the bird is pretty small-headed/necked. I don't really see anything that points to Coop. for me. The bird even appears to be "mulleted" instead of capped as Brandon Green recently noted on OBOL in reference to Jack Williamson's bird.

    Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Rhett! I was just reading those posts on OBOL trying to find some help on this bird. Sharpie it is!

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  2. Flycatcher Jen. This is a Sharp-shinned Hawk. I can see how its not clear in the first shot, but the bird looks very small-headed and sharp-tailed in the rest. Sharp-shinneds often appear shorter-tailed than Cooper's (to my eyes), which this bird matches.

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    1. Thanks, Steve! Stoked to have a sharpie around. Someday I will understand these guys better.

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  3. Sounds like a lot of excitement in your yard, Jen! The Sharpie will be scaring away all your little birds. Great series of photos!

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  4. Well, this has been educational. Good case study, and most excellent cues from the masters. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. The first photo, with the tail folded closed, shows the actual shape for determining squared or rounded. In the other photos the tails are fanned, thus you are unable to tell how rounded it may be when folded. What the fanned tail does show, however, is that the central tail feathers are the same length as the others--the dark and light bars line up--thus the central tail feathers are not molting. Molting (not fully grown in or missing) central tail feathers could cause a rounded tail to appear squared or notched. This is a long way of saying, believe the first photo. It's a Sharpie.

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    1. Thanks, Greg, I can use all the tips on these birds I can get!

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