Sharpie at the Feeders

Lately, we’ve had a sharp-shinned hawk visiting the Dahlem birdfeeders.  While some folks find this distressing, others of us look at it as, hey, they are bird feeders…this is a bird, it is feeding.
It put in an appearance again yesterday afternoon and I was able to grab a couple shots through a window before it took off.

Sharp-shins are small hawks, which look very similar to Cooper’s hawks and for many can be difficult to tell apart.

Some birders go by the tail:  Cooper’s hawks’ tails tend to be rounded/curved at the end, while sharpies’ tails tend to be flat, or straight across.  Other birders go by size:  the Cooper’s hawk is larger than the sharp-shin, although a small male Cooper’s could be about the same size, or even slightly smaller, than a large female sharpie.  Some say look at the birds in flight:  the Cooper’s head extends further forward from the leading edge of the wings that does the sharpie’s (think a cross in silhouette for the former, and a T for the latter).  And then there is the shape of the head.  A Cooper’s hawk tend to have a flatter head (on top), while a sharpie tends to be more rounded.  As with so many of these kinds of things, it pays to look at many traits and take in the totality before making a decision.

In the shot below, you can see our friend getting ready to launch.

And there it goes!

Meanwhile, up in the tree, a black squirrel was experiencing momentary stationary panic.  As soon as the hawk departed, it scampered down the tree and resumed its snacking on sunflower seeds.

We’ve seen the hawk every couple of days, so if you come out and are patient, you, too, might get to see it.

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