GBBC Hawk ID


04Feb2013_1a_Backyard_Sharp_ShinYes. It has been a while! I can tell you this, though. The Boise downtown Peregrines have been spotted around town at different locations and they look healthy. The photo to the left is a Sharp-shinned Hawk that landed in our alley last February and has been seen around the area this year. He has left some “tell tale” signs. Robin forwarded this article to me about how to identify Coopers Hawk and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It can be extremely difficult. Coopers Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk from Feederwatch. From the article,

Sharp-shinned (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s (Accipiter cooperii) hawks commonly prey on feeder birds, and they are frequently reported by FeederWatchers. Despite their common occurrence, these hawks present a significant identification problem for many beginning and intermediate (and even more advanced!) birders. There is great variation in plumage and in size for these two species. Therefore, perhaps more than any other similar-looking birds, no single field mark is likely to distinguish one species from the other. Instead, the careful observer must use a combination of field marks and draw from the overall “gestalt” of the hawk for proper identification. No field guide will substitute for plenty of practice in the field.

If you participate in Project FeederWatch, observed one of these two hawks during a FeederWatch count, and are not absolutely certain which hawk you observed, please report the bird as an “Accipiter sp.” (the genus in which these two species are classified).

If you are going to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), and this is a national event, you can get information from the site listed above. It is free and they do provide you with all the information and resource you will need. Cheers and Keep Looking Up!

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