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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 14:37   #1
KtownJohn
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Help ID ... immature Sharp Shinned?

Hello birders. I'm new to birding and often have question when I'm trying to ID a bird. I don't have much confidence in my abilities yet.

Could someone help me ID this bird. I believe it is an immature Sharp-Shinned Hawk but not positive. Sorry for the quality. The lighting got the best of me but should be good enough to ID. Taken yesterday in SE Michigan.


http://www.pbase.com/jy/image/76405802.jpg


http://www.pbase.com/jy/image/76405803.jpg

http://www.pbase.com/jy/image/76405987.jpg

Thanks, John
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 14:47   #2
steveo
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I agree imm. sharp shinned skinny legs, rounded head and overall size.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 14:52   #3
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heavy streaks,brown back,yellow eye , slight pale eye stripe would lead me to agree with you

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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 15:10   #4
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"Delta T" is long. Ie the outer tail feathers are much shorter than the central tail feathers which are heavily worn. Streaking on the underparts is crisp and fine, not broad and blurry. Belly pale. These are all pro-Cooper's features.

I'm not very good at these accipiters, so I could be wrong, but I'd like to learn why I'm wrong, if I'm wrong.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 15:24   #5
steveo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorlan
"Delta T" is long. Ie the outer tail feathers are much shorter than the central tail feathers which are heavily worn. Streaking on the underparts is crisp and fine, not broad and blurry. Belly pale. These are all pro-Cooper's features.

I'm not very good at these accipiters, so I could be wrong, but I'd like to learn why I'm wrong, if I'm wrong.
These are good points i'm thinking size is the clincher on this one, Maybe KtownJohn could elaborate on size. Was this what you would call a large hawk or medium sized? I know this can be hard to judge without anything to compare it to.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 15:27   #6
KtownJohn
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Interesting

I though there was concensus and then jmorgan comes along :)

Here is big time crop of a picture taken this past December that I think is a Coopers. Identifying these birds can be frustrating.

http://www.pbase.com/jy/image/72582450.jpg

Thanks for all the help. John
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 15:29   #7
Miedin
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I agree with jmorlan. Cooper's gets my vote.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 15:41   #8
KtownJohn
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It looked big to me...

It looked big to me but I had been taking pictures of smaller birds all morning and when the Hawk was spotted it sure looked big. I'd estimate it to have been 12 to 14 inches long but that is a guess.


Quote:
Originally Posted by steveo
These are good points i'm thinking size is the clincher on this one, Maybe KtownJohn could elaborate on size. Was this what you would call a large hawk or medium sized? I know this can be hard to judge without anything to compare it to.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 16:31   #9
JANJ
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I also see Cooper´s here. The thin streaking, especially on the lower underparts and although the tail is heavily worn the outer tail feathers are obviously shorter (in pic.1) and with wide pale tips which say´s Cooper´s.

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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 16:39   #10
B Lagopus
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Facinating accipiter! When I look at the first two photos, I'm pretty sure that I'm looking at a perched Cooper's Hawk. The tail looks substantial, long and properly graduated, the thin streaking and lack of flank barring looks good for Coopers, the bill looks properly substantial. The head and neck do look smallish, but this is more than offset by the quite pale and yellow iris. Per Brian Wheeler in "Raptors of Western North America", a Sharp-shinned will have an orange or yellow-orange iris by this time of year (rarely pale yellow), while a Cooper will still retain a paler iris.

Then the bird is in flight in the third photo, and my perceptions get turned upside down. The tail abruptly looks too short, and more importantly -- pinched in at the base, a Sharpy characteristic that we shouldn't see on a Coop. The wings look broad, and carried slightly forward rather than flat, the body looks stubby, the head appears small -- and these are all Sharpie characteristics as discussed by Jerry Liguori in "Hawks From Every Angle". Offsetting the iris color is a trailing band to the flight feathers that is palish and quite brown, lacking the "crisply sharply defined, crisp dark gray or black band on the trailing edge of the remiges of the underwing" that Wheeler judges worthy of emphasizing with italics in his ID discussion of juvenile Coops.

And then of course, graduated tails can be seen on some female Sharpies, and thinly streaked underside markings are also characteristic of some lightly marked Sharpies.

In sorting these out, I think that I am more likely to be confused by an odd angle, lighting and color on the in-flight bird than the perched photos, and therefore have a Coop lean on this bird. I suspect that having a graduated tail, light markings and pale yellow iris in late March all on the same Sharpie would be quite unlikely (even if each individual characteristic is possible). That said, I don't have much confidence in that lean, the third photo removed that...
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Old Saturday 31st March 2007, 19:48   #11
KtownJohn
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Thanks to everyone

Thanks to everyone for helping ID the Hawk. I have really enjoyed reading the informative replys to my question and have learned a lot about the nuance of bird identification.

John
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