• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
Feel the intensity, not your equipment. Maximum image quality. Minimum weight. The new ZEISS SFL, up to 30% less weight than comparable competitors.

Female Sparrowhawk or male Goshawk, Stockholm 21 December (1 Viewer)

Macswede

Macswede
Recently, in the immediate vicinity, we've had a male Goshawk flying overhead, a male Sparrowhawk that took a Great Tit behind the feeders and a female Goshawk amidst a flock of Fieldfares. All these birds were easily identified but this one, seen earlier today, was a long way off at the top of a tree and partially hidden by branches.
I thought it was a female Sparrowhawk based on the yellow eyes and the comparatively light build but my wife reckoned it was a male Goshawk as she felt it was too bulky for a Sparrowhawk. Who is correct?
We probably have more Goshawks than Sparrowhawks in the area but neither species is uncommon.
 

Attachments

  • 064A0773.jpg
    064A0773.jpg
    481.4 KB · Views: 98
  • 064A0782.jpg
    064A0782.jpg
    264.6 KB · Views: 101
  • 064A0787.jpg
    064A0787.jpg
    278.8 KB · Views: 101
  • 064A0793.jpg
    064A0793.jpg
    411.3 KB · Views: 84

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
Sparrowhawk ,as already said.

I also think the spruce it sits in is either a Blue / Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) or a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) _ both have much smaller cones than the European species Norway spruce (Picea abies)...
 

Macswede

Macswede
Sparrowhawk ,as already said.

I also think the spruce it sits in is either a Blue / Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) or a Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) _ both have much smaller cones than the European species Norway spruce (Picea abies)...
That's very interesting, Joern. I must confess my knowledge of spruces is extremely limited.
 

Macswede

Macswede
Well I also have some botanical experience -- which can occasionally be helpful if you have estimate the size of a bird...
That's true, Joern, and for me it's interesting because my wife has always insisted that that tree is a species of fir (because of the small cones). I was fairly sure it was a spruce.
 

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
Graham, what is the difference between fir and spruce exactly, I never got this clear cut for me..
In German we have the differenciation between Tanne (Genus Abies) with non stinging needles and upright cones that fall to pieces when releasing the seed and Fichte (Genus Picea) with stinging , sharp ended needles and hanging cones that do not fall to pieces when releasing the seed... but then there are local dialects which call Norway spruce (Picea abies) Rottanne, and then there is a number of exotic genera which further complicate the matter....
 

aeshna5

Well-known member
Graham, what is the difference between fir and spruce exactly, I never got this clear cut for me..
In German we have the differenciation between Tanne (Genus Abies) with non stinging needles and upright cones that fall to pieces when releasing the seed and Fichte (Genus Picea) with stinging , sharp ended needles and hanging cones that do not fall to pieces when releasing the seed... but then there are local dialects which call Norway spruce (Picea abies) Rottanne, and then there is a number of exotic genera which further complicate the matter....
Firs are genus Abies, spruces are Picea.
 

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
Thanks that is what I had hoped for ... so essentielly it follows a similar differenciation as in Germany with a few (exotic) exceptions like Pseudotsuga (Douglas fir )...
 

Macswede

Macswede
Joern,
I've never really thought about this too much to be honest and after looking in our books in English and Swedish I now realise that fir and spruce share the same name in Swedish (gran). I'm confusing spruce with pine/pinus which is tall in Swedish.
Most Christmas trees in Sweden are Picea albies which is Norway Spruce in English though ours is a Silver Fir Abies alba. In Swedish they are called gran and silvergran.
I'm slightly less ignorant today than I was yesterday.
Graham
 

fdokykcu

Well-known member
That's true, Joern, and for me it's interesting because my wife has always insisted that that tree is a species of fir (because of the small cones). I was fairly sure it was a spruce.
As Joern says, the difference between Abies and Picea cones allows an easy way to identify a fir-looking tree: search for the cones on the ground below it. If you don't find any, it is most probably a fir. If you find them, then it can be a spruce (or many other things, including pines)
 

Macswede

Macswede
Do spruces lose their cones more often than fir trees? In Swedish both spruces and firs are different types of "gran" and all "Pinaceae" (firs, spruces and pines) have cones. Checking the appearance of the cones is a good idea though.
 

fdokykcu

Well-known member
Do spruces lose their cones more often than fir trees?
Sorry, I didn't explain it quite clear. Fir trees cones never fall in a piece to the ground when ripe. All the scales that form up the cone fall apart while they are still in the tree, leaving only the rachis or axis of the cone (you can see them in the top of the fir, but it is not easy) So you cannot find any fir cones in the ground. Never! Instead, spruce cones fall in a piece to the ground, where you can spot them easily. European fir and spruce cones mature both in the same year. Fir cones disintegrate after ripening (usually in october in Spanish mountains)
 
Last edited:

Joern Lehmhus

Well-known member
Sorry, I didn't explain it quite clear. Fir trees cones never fall in a piece to the ground when ripe. All the scales that form up the cone fall apart while they are still in the tree, their leaving only the rachis or axis of the cone (you can see them in the top of the fir, but it is not easy) So you cannot find any fir cones in the ground. Never! Instead, spruce cones fall in a piece to the ground, where you can spot them easily. European fir and spruce cones mature both in the same year. Fir cones disintegrate after ripening (usually in october in Spanish mountains)
yes that´s what I meant - I also wasn´t too clear ... That is typical for the genera Abies (the firs) and Cedrus (the true cedars)

so allthough many people call the spruce cones "Tannenzapfen" in German they are in reality Fichtenzapfen ....
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top