• 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.

Sharp-shinned Hawk? - Winnipeg, Manitoba (1 Viewer)

khustochka

Well-known member
Is it good for a Sharp-shinned Hawk?

Looks smallish, round head. But I am not sure because I do not see them often, Cooper's are much more common.

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sept 21, 2021.

Thank you.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_2079.jpg
    IMG_2079.jpg
    263.5 KB · Views: 50
  • IMG_2080.JPG
    IMG_2080.JPG
    179.4 KB · Views: 55

Butty

Well-known member
Smallish bill + steepish forehead suggest sharp-shinned hawk. But pale sides to hindneck (peering through the underexposure) mean Cooper's hawk.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
But pale sides to hindneck (peering through the underexposure) mean Cooper's hawk.
I don't see this. Legs this thin can only mean Sharpie surely, and general rounded sparrowhawk jizz good for that too. Suggest wing tips slightly longer than vent better for sharpie (but not as clear-cut as Sibley illustrations).
 

Butty

Well-known member
I count the leg-thickness feature as the most-useless of all the well-known criteria. In any event, as I understand it, it is only to be used when viewing from the front or back - the difference being due to the fact that the legs of sharp-shinned hawk are laterally flattened.
 

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
Both species have legs that are skinniest when viewed from the front. The legs are practically identical when viewed from the side, and extremely hard to judge when viewed from the front, too.

I see Butty's point about a pretty strong cap contrast which should mean Coop, but I can't get past my initial impression that the whole bird is small and rounded, with general Sharpie proportions. Tail shape is hard to judge in the flight shot, but it does seem to show the outer feathers are shorter than the rest --- so it's a Coop after all.
 

Butty

Well-known member
Tail shape is hard to judge in the flight shot...
There is (was?) a jolly interesting webpage/blog/whatever-thing by Sibley, with lots of photos, detailing why trying to judge the tail-tip shape of both species in flight is so unreliable as to be a waste of time. I can't find it.
 
Last edited:

THE_FERN

Well-known member
To be honest, unless some US hawk mavern steps in, probably best least un-id'd. I don't see the same neck features Butty sees (perhaps playing with the exposure/contrast might help), and you'll see my notes on wing/vent above

Edit: not to second guess, but I understand Butty's comments to be about the neck sides not the cap. I don't see a strong (any?) cap contrast here)
 
Last edited:

Butty

Well-known member
Taking another look at this, the sides of the hindneck do look quite dark, if (apparently) not as dark as the rear of the neck - but in such an underexposed photo I'm sure of nothing. In combination, however, with the smallish bill + steepish forehead, I now suspect this to be sharp-shinned hawk.
 

NY_Birder

Well-known member
I'd say Sharp-shinned Hawk due to the rounded head that seems small in proportion to its body and short neck. Plus, the bird in question gives more of an impression of being bug-eyed as the eye is close to the center of the head.
 

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
I think we're talking about the same contrast; if the nape is pale it helps the cap to stand out. The nape does look pale in the photo but it's not nearly as clear - cut as I'd like. Sharp-shin does frequently show some contrast between cap and neck, it's a question of how sharp and strong the border is, and/or just how pale the neck is, and given the iffy lighting, this photo is not very convincing either way.

There's pretty clearly one outer tail feather shorter than all the others (nothing to do with angle of spread, it's largely overlapping its neighbor), and I think I see the same on the other side, but I can't find the sibley blog that Butty references. Multiple sources (here's one) indicate that r6 < r1 is diagnostic for coopers, though the differences can be small and subject to molt.
 

Butty

Well-known member
Multiple sources (here's one) indicate that r6 < r1 is diagnostic for coopers
I fear that your source doesn't say that - that's a misinterpretation of the text. In any case, I would be worried if any source said that - as sharp-shinned hawk not-uncommonly has the outermost feathers (a bit) shorter than the others and thus has 'r6 < r1'; this is why there is potential for confusion in using the tail-tip-structure feature. Even that source says: 'There are Sharpies that exhibit fairly rounded tail tips'.
(Is 'r' = rectrix, really used as an abbreviation meaning tail-feather in N America - when the potential for confusion with remige = primaries+secondaries is so obvious? Most unwise.)
 

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
You're right, I left out an adverb: that source says that in Coop's the rectrix 6 is (usually) "obviously" shorter than r1 (whereas any difference in sharpie is never obvious). Looking at the "top" (bird's leftmost) feather in the photo, compared to the feather it overlaps, I think the difference qualifies as "obvious".
 

Butty

Well-known member
the rectrix 6 is (usually) "obviously" shorter than r1 (whereas any difference in sharpie is never obvious).
The word that I use, and prefer, in that context is 'substantially' (still a subjective one of course) - but, yes, the point is as you describe it.
 

antbird53

Well-known member
I fear that your source doesn't say that - that's a misinterpretation of the text. In any case, I would be worried if any source said that - as sharp-shinned hawk not-uncommonly has the outermost feathers (a bit) shorter than the others and thus has 'r6 < r1'; this is why there is potential for confusion in using the tail-tip-structure feature. Even that source says: 'There are Sharpies that exhibit fairly rounded tail tips'.
(Is 'r' = rectrix, really used as an abbreviation meaning tail-feather in N America - when the potential for confusion with remige = primaries+secondaries is so obvious? Most unwise.)
remige = primaries+secondaries
The singular of remiges is remex not remige! :)
 

rkj

Well-known member
(Is 'r' = rectrix, really used as an abbreviation meaning tail-feather in N America - when the potential for confusion with remige = primaries+secondaries is so obvious? Most unwise.)
I don't think there is any confusion when 'r6' (or similar) is used to indicate a particular rectrix. For remiges it would be 'p6' for a primary or 's6' for a secondary; 'r6' would have no clear meaning if applied to a remige (or a remex, if you like).
 

Butty

Well-known member
That wasn't really my point...
p = primary - pretty obvious and unambiguous.
s = secondary - pretty obvious and unambiguous.
r = ...what? Unless you just happen to be serious enough to be into the arcane end of birding/museum/ringing terminology, you won't have a clue. And, if you happen to have some degree of a clue, you have then got two 'r' options. Hence ambiguity. For inclusivity and to minimise elitism, intuitiveness is the key - and there ain't nothing intuitive about 'r', especially when 't' is way clearer to people with way less knowledge.
 

rkj

Well-known member
That wasn't really my point...
p = primary - pretty obvious and unambiguous.
s = secondary - pretty obvious and unambiguous.
r = ...what? Unless you just happen to be serious enough to be into the arcane end of birding/museum/ringing terminology, you won't have a clue. And, if you happen to have some degree of a clue, you have then got two 'r' options. Hence ambiguity. For inclusivity and to minimise elitism, intuitiveness is the key - and there ain't nothing intuitive about 'r', especially when 't' is way clearer to people with way less knowledge.
This comes from a paper that was written for just such people and where, even so, it was explained that 'r' meant rectrix. I do not see that using 'r" for 'tail feather' is any less clear than 'p' for 'outer wing feather' and 's' for 'inner wing feather'.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
This comes from a paper that was written for just such people and where, even so, it was explained that 'r' meant rectrix. I do not see that using 'r" for 'tail feather' is any less clear than 'p' for 'outer wing feather' and 's' for 'inner wing feather'.
I heard that there are 2 systems of numbering primary feathers and each goes in the opposite direction. Also that some people drive on the right...

None of this is confusing of course: it's designed to facilitate communication, peace and inner harmony. Or something
 
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top