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raptor in Northern NJ

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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 02:17   #1
jenns
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raptor in Northern NJ

Hello all. I was unfortunately not able to get a picture, but I can describe the details as I remember them. A hawk came circling near my bird feeder in Northern New Jersey this afternoon. I live in a suburb in a highland area with fragemented woods. The back was a uniform slate gray, and the tail was somewhat longish and rounded, and the wings were pointed. It was about the size of the red tailed hawk but not as bulky. At first I thought it was a Cooper's (see them all the time here), but this one looked different because 1) it was bigger 2)didn't see any reddish coloring or streaking on the breast and 3) the wings were pointed. Any ideas what it could be? I'm used to seeing red-tailed, cooper's, sharp shinned and osprey here during fall migration time, but this one seemed different.
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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 03:05   #2
danehower
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hmmm...? Long tail , slate grey back .. does northern Goshawk work? The pointed wing part might work against this . I have only seen a few N Goshawks and my best view of one was immature.
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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 03:20   #3
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I used to see a lot of Goshawks 10-15 years ago when the winters were harsher, but very few recently. It's a bit early for them to be here now, especially with this warm fall we are having and I haven't heard of any shortage of their typical prey, snow shoe rabbits and grouse in the north this year. Do you think it may have been a male harrier?
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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 03:23   #4
Microtus
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Have you considered Peregrine Falcon?
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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 04:00   #5
jenns
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My first thought was that it was a Harrier, but I looked out for the white rump and I didn't see it.

In the pictures I'm seeing of Goshawks, the wings do look a bit more rounded than what I saw, and there was no obvious black barring on the tail. The tail bars are the first think I notice on Cooper's hawk and that was also one of my first clues that it wasn't a cooper's. I believe the Goshawk has the same bars.

Peregrine Falcon - I've always imagined they would be smaller but I suppose It is possible that it was a large female. Just googled some images and shape of the wings is a match. I will be watching my feeders all day tomorrow in hopes that this bird will turn up again. If it is a Peregrine than it certainly needs to be captured on film!
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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 04:26   #6
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Would a Peregrine hunt a feeder? I would expect this behavior from an Accipiter however I am not familiar with Peregrine Falcons so I do not know...
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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 10:38   #7
Microtus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audubob View Post
Would a Peregrine hunt a feeder?
It would help to remember what the whole post said before replying to it ...

Up late, up early, off to go birding!

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Old Sunday 21st October 2007, 23:22   #8
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Now I'm thinking Goshawk. Just took a look at the Sibley book and it says that the barring on the tail is light, and the wings are "rather pointed". The drawing in the book matches exactly what I saw! Unfortunately, the bird did not come around today. I put fishing line around my feeder to keep the house sparrows away, and it's now also keeping the hawks away since there were slim pickens at the feeder as a result.

A Goshawk might hunt around a feeder, right?
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Old Monday 22nd October 2007, 03:17   #9
ceasar
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A Goshawk is a pretty "bulky" raptor. Sibley uses the word "stocky" to describe it, the same word used to describe the Red Tail. They are almost the same size. The Goshawk is on average a bit longer but has a shorter wing span. It's built for zigging and zagging through the woods. It's wings are fairly pointed, still broad, but not as much as a Red Tail's wings. If it's a Goshawk it will find better pickings around the edges of the woods and fields near your home in the form of Squirrels, Rabbits and even Grouse or Pheasants if there are any in your area. I've seen them take Squirrels a few times near the rural home where I lived when I was a kid and I've seen them roust grouse out of the scrub oak woods when I was hunting. They are impressively fierce hunters and very powerful flyers.
Cordially,
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Old Monday 22nd October 2007, 16:33   #10
Jeff hopkins
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We had a goshawk at our hawk watch in eastern PA on Saturday, so they are starting to move through. It sounds like a good fit to me.
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