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Bittern? Heron? Which kind of Hawk? And Sparrow help in Perth, Ontario (1 Viewer)

chipster454

Well-known member
I was at the Mitchell Sewage Lagoons this morning, and got a couple of pictures where I can't identify the birds. The first one I feel might be an American Bittern flyover? Looked a little small and not quite right for a Great Blue heron. (Another birder who was there, but not with me reported seeing an American Bittern fly in and land in some reeds. Could be that bird?) The second one I assumed was a Red-Tailed Hawk, until I got home and saw my not so good picture. Looking at the wing pattern, could it be a Northern Goshawk? That's what the Merlin Bird App is suggesting. And lastly the Sparrow. Probably just a young Song Sparrow. There's a very lightness and softness to its colour. Wish I could have got a more focused picture...On any of them...Oh well.
 

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  • American Bittern (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons).JPG
    American Bittern (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons).JPG
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  • Northern Goshawk (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons).JPG
    Northern Goshawk (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons).JPG
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  • Sparrow (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons) (1).JPG
    Sparrow (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons) (1).JPG
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    Sparrow (Mitchell Sewage Lagoons) (2).JPG
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Butty

Well-known member
1. Very plausibly great blue heron. Certainly not American (or any other) bittern.
2. I think immature northern goshawk (big bill, supercilium, thick flank-bars). Certainly an accipiter - not red-tailed hawk.
 
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nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
Fairly definite great blue heron. Pass on the hawk (but definitely not a red-tail). I stink at sparrows but it looks fine for Song to me, just a little dull.

Edit: after looking more at the hawk (particularly the tail pattern), I'm thinking the same as Butty. I'm not really familiar with goshawk, but it doesn't feel quite right for cooper's or sharp-shinned.
 
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chipster454

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies so far. They're very helpful. I'll go with Great Blue Heron, and Song Sparrow. I struggle with Hawks, and I know Goshawks are pretty uncommon, (At least in my area) so I'll await further confirmation on that one. It would be a life bird for me :) so here's hoping.
 

chipster454

Well-known member
So I posted the second bird as a Northern Goshawk on my Ebird account. It was under review, as it is a rare bird. The picture is no longer in my "Latest Media" pictures. I can still see the picture if I go to that particular checklist where it no longer says Unconfirmed. When I click on my Life List, it show Northern Goshawk as my newest sighting, and when I click on it, it shows I've got one sighting, and one picture. When I click on the #1 under picture where it should show me my Goshawk picture, it says "Sorry, no results were found." I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with how Ebird reviews work....But I'm guessing the reviewer concluded it's not a Northern Goshawk...So that begs the question. What is it? Juvenile Cooper's Hawk? Juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk? Is there anything else it could be?
 

D Halas

Well-known member
So I posted the second bird as a Northern Goshawk on my Ebird account. It was under review, as it is a rare bird. The picture is no longer in my "Latest Media" pictures. I can still see the picture if I go to that particular checklist where it no longer says Unconfirmed. When I click on my Life List, it show Northern Goshawk as my newest sighting, and when I click on it, it shows I've got one sighting, and one picture. When I click on the #1 under picture where it should show me my Goshawk picture, it says "Sorry, no results were found." I'm not sure if anyone here is familiar with how Ebird reviews work....But I'm guessing the reviewer concluded it's not a Northern Goshawk...So that begs the question. What is it? Juvenile Cooper's Hawk? Juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk? Is there anything else it could be?

If I search for photos of Northern Goshawk in Perth County, and click on "Show Unconfirmed" under pictures, it shows up for me. Here it is:


As for your eBIrd Life List, what shows up on it has absolutely nothing to do with what reviewers have to say about your rare sightings. I could submit a list from the Toronto Zoo with Ostrich on it, and Ostrich would stay on my Toronto life list, no matter what the reviewers had to say about it – it just wouldn't be publicly visible if someone else for some reason went searching for Ostrich records from Ontario. I'm not sure why you'd get a "Sorry, no results were found", but I have found occasionally that a photo or sound that I upload to eBird and that shows up when I search for photos under "Search Photos and Sounds" doesn't get added to the count of species I've photographed or recorded in the "My eBird" section. Maybe try uploading it again and see if the same error occurs? There's no reason to conclude that a reviewer has rejected your sighting, though – they might not even have seen it yet. If the reviewer does conclude that it's a different species, you should get an email from them saying so.

As for the ID itself, I unfortunately haven't seen enough Goshawks in my life to be able to tell for certain from your photo that it is or isn't one!
 

Butty

Well-known member
I'm guessing the reviewer concluded it's not a Northern Goshawk...So that begs the question. What is it?
Well, you don't know that the reviewer concluded that: the reviewer may just have concluded that s/he doesn't know or that it might be one but such an ID would be unsafe. Or the reviewer may just be... wrong.

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk? Juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk? Is there anything else it could be?
No - because it's an accipiter, and there's only those 3 accipiter species in N America.
 

chipster454

Well-known member
Thanks to both D Halas and Butty for replying. I guess if the picture shows up "unconfirmed" for you, it must still be under review. I haven't received an email yet, and I have the other times I've posted a wrong species. I guess the only thing that was throwing me off was that it was in my latest media pictures yesterday, and now it's gone. If I don't receive an email within a few days, I'll try submitting again. :) This place is always very helpful.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
I'd say the hawk looks good for a Gos. It would be between that and Cooper's, but I think those wings look very broad and the overall shape bulky with heavy markings below. I'm not 100% sure, though, and perhaps it is rare up there. I'd think by August, though, immatures from wilderness breeding sites could disperse to such a location before migration.

Ideally, eBird reviewers will send the observer an email requesting more information before they unconfirm an observation. It doesn't always happen, though.
 

chipster454

Well-known member
Thank you Birdmeister. I'm not sure what happened to my Ebird checklist. I did add my picture again, and am still waiting for confirmation or an email, but I think with everyone here leaning toward Goshawk, I am going to count it as such regardless.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I agree with the above. Also be aware that ebird reviewers are ordinary people with other things on their mind. They may not have gotten to your checklist yet - or as butty says, may have concluded the the image was inconclusive.

Niels

Edit: I have sometimes in the comments to such an observation written in link to a discussion thread here in Birdforum.
 
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Sangahyando

Well-known member
Thank you Birdmeister. I'm not sure what happened to my Ebird checklist. I did add my picture again, and am still waiting for confirmation or an email, but I think with everyone here leaning toward Goshawk, I am going to count it as such regardless.
I think the picture is more difficult than it would be under other circumstances due to the fact that 1) the face is under the shadow of the wing, making it seem darker, and 2) the bird is carrying prey and hence, we can't see the feet and UTC properly.
 

Torchepot

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Just a couple of thoughts - the underparts appear barred and not streaked - which I believe would rule out juvenile Goshawk.
Secondly - though it’s hard to be certain - doesn’t the leading edge of the underwing appear rufous? Is that compatible with adult Goshawk?
 

Butty

Well-known member
the underparts appear barred and not streaked - which I believe would rule out juvenile Goshawk
It's on the flanks, which immature goshawk has (I mentioned this in my first comment).

doesn’t the leading edge of the underwing appear rufous? Is that compatible with adult Goshawk?
Yes, very faintly so - apparently. Being so faint, and in a single photo, I wouldn't attach any weight to it one way or the other.
 

Butty

Well-known member
I don't find the chest (or belly) visible in this photo - but we disagree about that.
A different point that's not been mentioned so far is the shape of the wing trailing edge: it doesn't show goshawk's characteristic bulging secondaries.
 

chipster454

Well-known member
I agree with the above. Also be aware that ebird reviewers are ordinary people with other things on their mind. They may not have gotten to your checklist yet - or as butty says, may have concluded the the image was inconclusive.

Niels

Edit: I have sometimes in the comments to such an observation written in link to a discussion thread here in Birdforum.
Yes, I understand the reviewers are ordinary people with full lives. I'm totally understanding that it can take some time to get around to confirming checklists. My only concern was how my picture disappeared from my recent media this time. That had never happened to one of my birds under review before. I have since seen another rarity (Wilson's Phalarope) and it did the same thing. The reviewer got to it sooner, and has confirmed that sighting, and the picture returned to my recent media. So I'm sure the Perth reviewer will get around to my hawk picture, and I'm happy to wait that out :)
 

chipster454

Well-known member
Just a couple of thoughts - the underparts appear barred and not streaked - which I believe would rule out juvenile Goshawk.
Secondly - though it’s hard to be certain - doesn’t the leading edge of the underwing appear rufous? Is that compatible with adult Goshawk?
I see what you mean Torchepot. Yesterday I was strongly leaning towards Goshawk, and now I'm leaning towards Cooper's...
 

Torchepot

Well-known member
United Kingdom
I’ve never seen a juvenile Goshawk with barring like that on the underparts - but I’ve never seen a Goshawk in the USA so I’m not certain if there is any variation.
I cranked up the desktop computer today and put your image on a big monitor and have almost convinced myself that there is some rufous on the chest too?
I can’t really see much (or any) supercilium either.
 
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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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