Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

November 7, 2011

Hawk Gawking

Filed under: For the Birds — Karma @ 4:25 pm
Tags: , ,


 With the help of Bob Zeller, I’ve been trying to identify this hawk.  The sharp-shinned hawk or the Cooper’s hawk  seem to be best bets for possible identification.  I only got a quick glance at the front of the bird as it flew away when I tried to get a little bit closer.  Its chest was light colored with some brown mottling.  Any one have any thoughts?  I suppose in the end its true name isn’t super important – I was just happy to have the photo opportunity when it landed in a tree across the street from my house.


  1. I got an e-mail from the person that originally thought it to be a Sharp-shinned. He now says that it could be the Cooper’s. My own opinion, based on the squarish head and darker cap, and the white tip on the tail, is also that it is a Cooper’s. But they are close relatives and it would be difficult to definitely ID it based on the one photo. By the way, they both have light breasts with mottled patterns. 🙂

    If they were side by side, the Cooper’s would be about 5 inches taller A mature Sharp-shinned is 11 inches and the Cooper’s is 16 inches..

    I have sent the photo to othere well-informed people and I haven’t heard from them. They probably don’t want to hazard a guess either.

    Comment by Bob Zeller — November 7, 2011 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

    • Going by the heights you give here, I would lean toward the Sharp-shinned hawk. That red eye also has me wondering – is that a trait of one or the other?

      Comment by Karma — November 7, 2011 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

      • 1st year Cooper’s have orange eyes. Also, your image shows the long tail of a Cooper’s along with the white tip. Very intrigueing. One thing we do know is that it is either one or the other. I have seen in other forums, experts arguing about the differences between the two. and I am certainly no expert. But that’s what makes birding so exciting and fun, but frustrating. 🙂

        Comment by Bob Zeller — November 8, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

      • It is fun – and I’ve learned a lot just since I started paying more attention to birds with my camera.

        Comment by Karma — November 8, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  2. You can see my photo here in my Flickr photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bob_zeller/6323386785/in/photostream.

    Comment by Bob Zeller — November 7, 2011 @ 5:12 pm | Reply

    • Your Cooper’s hawk photo seems to make me think mine is the other – but I do realize the age and sex of the bird make a difference in the look too.

      Comment by Karma — November 7, 2011 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  3. I’d love to offer my assistance in naming said mysterious Hawk, but as it’s a foreign one, and hence I’m not going to be of much use, other than suggesting it looks like a Steve…or maybe even a Cedric… Definitely not a Peter though… if that helps… It’s a great shot though, and must have been quite the sight to see… 🙂

    Comment by FS Photography — November 7, 2011 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Brian. Your choice of names gave me a chuckle; my own cat’s name is Cedric and a neighbor’s cat that roams the neighborhood my daughter has named “Steve.” No Peters though! 😉

      Comment by Karma — November 7, 2011 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

      • A hawk made off with Peter. A hawk just about yea big with a red eye . . . wait, wait . . .

        Very cool shot, Karma.

        Comment by Gerry — November 7, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

      • 😆 Thanks Gerry.

        Comment by Karma — November 8, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

  4. Wonderful sighting! Love the red eyes! Boy, is s/he giving you a ‘come hither’ stare! 🙂

    Comment by milkayphoto — November 7, 2011 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  5. Love that look he’s giving you – “get off my back!”

    Comment by Barbara — November 7, 2011 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

    • I was wondering how long it was going to put up with me snapping away at it!

      Comment by Karma — November 7, 2011 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

  6. He’s definitely glaring! Nice capture!!

    Comment by Photo By Holly — November 7, 2011 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Holly. I guess it was telling me our photo shoot was over!

      Comment by Karma — November 7, 2011 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

  7. Wow! Great capture, Karen!

    Comment by TheDailyClick — November 8, 2011 @ 8:05 am | Reply

  8. Whatever it is, it’s a very handsome bird. Sweet capture, Karma. 🙂

    Comment by Robin — November 8, 2011 @ 3:57 pm | Reply

    • He or she was quite the sight to see.

      Comment by Karma — November 8, 2011 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  9. Great capture, Karen! I love watching birds and I have never seen one of these.

    Comment by Becky Sue — November 9, 2011 @ 10:07 pm | Reply

    • I’ve been hearing that typical “bird of prey” call high in the sky for most of the summer. That bird landed one day during the week off from school, so I was lucky to be able to run outside with my camera!

      Comment by Karma — November 11, 2011 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  10. […] very interested in trying to get decent photos of these fast-moving creatures.  I actually took one of my favorites just a few days ago, but that doesn’t count for Scott’s […]

    Pingback by Best of, Part 1 « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — November 11, 2011 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  11. […] types regularly soar through the skies above my head and occasionally I have been lucky enough to capture a couple on tree branches. Something about seeing this amazing bird standing on the ground was a real moment for me. I […]

    Pingback by What a strange sight | Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — March 16, 2013 @ 9:41 am | Reply

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