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ID a small raptor (1 Viewer)

speach

Member
Hello, Was wondering if someone may be able to tell me what type of bird I had seen. I'll try to give as much information as I can.

Location: Along Capon River in West Virginia USA On top of mountain ridge,
Date and time: 11/17/2017 approximately 2pm in afternoon.

I was sitting in woods surrounded by squirrels who suddenly darted to there trees which usually alerts me to a hawk flying over or a predatory animal near by. They were barking and tails were twitching. I looked up and saw no hawk soaring over, but my attention quickly turned to some action going on in a pine thicket. I saw a black cap chickadee frantically flying through out the pines being pursued by another bird. I have seen hawks chase like this before but what was interesting was the bird chasing seemed no bigger than maybe a large Bluejay or Thrush. As I got my binoculars on it I noticed it had a raptor type beak slightly long, thin and rounded with that distinct sharp curved point a raptor would have. It seemed to have a lighter underneath and darker top. It appeared to be two toned in color, not noticing any brown or wild foliage look say a pheasant would have. It was in a shaded environment which made it hard to determine the exact colors. It appeared to be slender. It wasn't able to catch the bird it was pursuing but it was an impressive chase. It left, the other birds and squirrels went back to their normal routines. Ive seen Coopers and Red Tails do this. I also know what Kestrels look like. I have never seen a predatory bird that size pursuing other birds. Would anyone have an idea what type of bird this was?
 
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Sangahyando

Well-known member
Behaviour and size sound spot on for a small Accipiter. Sharp-shinned Hawks, especially males, are pretty small, so that seems the likeliest option to me.
 

speach

Member
Sangahyando,
Thank you for responding. I believe you are correct. After looking at images and reading descriptions on the Sharp Shinned Hawks as you said it sounds spot on. The colors reminded me of a Coopers Hawk with the gray/blue top and light underneath but it is a much much smaller bird. Which it does look to be a Sharp Shinned Hawk. I tried to attach a pic from my cell phone which is poorly detailed and grainy but it shows the silhouette of the bird in upper right hand corner on a branch. Thank you.
 

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birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Sangahyando,
Thank you for responding. I believe you are correct. After looking at images and reading descriptions on the Sharp Shinned Hawks as you said it sounds spot on. The colors reminded me of a Coopers Hawk with the gray/blue top and light underneath but it is a much much smaller bird. Which it does look to be a Sharp Shinned Hawk. I tried to attach a pic from my cell phone which is poorly detailed and grainy but it shows the silhouette of the bird in upper right hand corner on a branch. Thank you.

The bird in your photo is definitely an Accipiter, and guessing by the size you described it certainly sounds like a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
 

speach

Member
Thank you birdmeister. Almost certain it is one. I was pulling for the Chickadee. It was a fast frantic chase that the Sharp Shinned Hawk gave up on.
 

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