Saturday, October 7, 2006

Hawk Blogging

Over the past few days, we’ve seen this small hawk flitting about in and near our front yard, executing spectacular aerobatics as it darts through our shrubbery, always very near the ground. For some reason it decided to perch in a fig tree that’s just 15 feet from our windows, and I managed to grab these photos by standing in the shadows inside the house, and taking the pictures right through our (very dirty!) window panes.

I love it’s expression in the left-most picture, when it spotted my motion and was trying to figure out if I was edible! Moments after I snapped this one, it took off for parts unknown…

Hawks are notoriously hard to identify, and this one was no exception. From its size and behavior, it was easy to identify it as an accipiter — small, agile hawks that prey on other birds. But two nearly identical accipiters are common here (the Sharp-Shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk), making positive identification challenging. I’m calling this one a juvenile Sharp-Shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), based on the paintings in Sibley’s Guide to Birds (an absolutely wonderful book!).

As always, click on the small photos to get a larger version.


  1. In the old blog, chrys said:
    Just wanted to admire your photos - great nature shots again! Be Well

  2. In the old blog, MIke Dilatush said:
    I have heard that the Sharp-shinned is 10-14” beak to tail and the Coopers is 16-18” (both adult size),Hope this helps…

  3. In the old blog, Anonymous said:
    We see these from time to time in our back yard here in Orange. They are hunting for small birds as that is what the commonly eat. I think they are what you say.Great pix.Marion Moon