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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Coopers/Sharp-shinned, Virginia, USA, Jan. 10 (1 Viewer)

mtn

... winging it ....
I got a great look at this bird while out today. I came upon some old farm equipment at the edge of a field and this bird popped up from within it and looked at me, not seeming to mind my presence for what felt like a minute. We were less than 10' from each other. Its back was mostly brown, with some mild dark and light patterning, along with a number of smaller, fairly subtle white "circles". From behind it's tail was alternately brown and black with thick bars... I did not note whether or not the tips of the tail were white. The bird flew up into a tree about 20' from me and I watched it some more... It's feet seemed large. It was a good-sized bird, about the size of a crow. After a couple of minutes it flew across the pond and perched high in a tree. I set up my scope and snapped these pictures at ~45x, holding my phone as steady as I could by hand. After I'd stared at it for a while I decided to keep walking and as I passed the pile of farm machinery where I'd first seen the bird, no less than eight small birds flew out, across the field and into various trees and wood piles. I ID'd a couple as Field Sparrows... Some looked like Juncos in flight. Either way, this hawk must've had these birds pinned down, thus it's reluctance to leave the pile, despite my proximity.

As best I can tell from what I've read in my guides it seems like it was a Cooper's Hawk. I've read that the Sharp-shinned is a fair bit smaller, about the size of a Blue Jay? This bird was much bigger than a Blue Jay.

Appreciate you all taking a look.
Cheers
Daniel
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birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Cooper's for me, an immature. Warm cinnamon tones to the head, chest streaking looks better for Cooper's, and your description of size would definitely fit as well.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Agree with immature Cooper’s. Note the pale yellow eye colour (orange on imm Sharpie) also note the large feet (which you noted already) and rounded tail tip, in addition to Birdmeister’s points above.

Btw The pale tips of the tail feathers progressively wear off through the course of the season, so are not always apparent unless the bird is in quite fresh plumage.
 
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mtn

... winging it ....
Agree with immature Cooper’s. Note the pale yellow eye colour (orange on juvenile Sharpie) also note the large feet and rounded tail tip, in addition to Birdmeister’s points above.
The eyes were vibrantly yellow in person; they do look paler in the photos though.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe

mtn

... winging it ....
in the image they are pale on my monitor - that’s what I was referring to but it is not an issue
They do get darker and more orangey/red with age and there’s also a degree of variation in colour tones even within age groups.
It also couldve been the intensity of the eye contact that gave me the impression of vibrancy. The seemingly bright yellow eyes and legs/feet stood out immediately when I first came upon the bird. Coupled with the relative fearlessness I was certainly awe struck.
 
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 Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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