Feeling Hawkish

This morning Mark and I were preparing for the delivery of a new bed and mattress for our guest room.ย  This, of course, required “cleaning all the things” – even things beyond the guest room – which I guess is okay considering that I haven’t really “cleaned all the things” since Christmastime. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I was busily dusting the living room when Mark started to gesture toward the picture window frantically.ย  I carefully edged toward the window to see what had arrived and low and behold it was a juvenile sharp-shinned hawk!ย  Mark was able to grab my camera off the dinette table and I quickly began firing away at our visitor.

These first two photos I had to lighten up and crop and the first one has a blurry spot from a smudge on the outside of the window.ย  (I know it was outside because I had just finished cleaning all the dog drool off the inside! LOLย  Believe it or not, the beagles are NOT allowed on the furniture so how that drool happens is a “mystery”! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk looking for breakfast.

Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk looking for breakfast.

Sharp-shinned hawk stalking his prey.

Sharp-shinned hawk stalking his prey.

The hawk knew there were small birds hiding within the old Christmas tree – my reason for putting it out there in the first place, to provide cover for the birds!

He hopped around to the far side and kept peering down at the branches. At this point I had to step up and stand on the sofa to get a clear view.

Looking for breakfast.

Looking for breakfast.

That was my favorite of the nearly 40 photos I took.ย  This one isn’t bad, either.

Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk.

Juvenile sharp-shinned hawk.

Not having any luck, he came back around to the front of the tree.

Still searching for a nibble to eat.

Still searching for a nibble to eat.

Before I knew it, he stuck his head into the tree.

"I know you are in there!"

“I know you are in there!”

Then pretty much his whole body!

Tail feathers up!

Tail feathers up!

I expected him to come out with breakfast but he didn’t.

After this unsuccessful attempt, he then came down to the trunk end of the tree and proceeded to pose very nicely for several minutes.

Patiently waiting for his meal to come to him.

Patiently waiting for his meal to come to him.

The little birds are still in hiding.

The little birds are still in hiding.

I think he was getting a bit frustrated because he knew there were birds in that tree!

Suddenly he shook himself and puffed himself all up.ย  Maybe he got a sudden chill, even though our temperatures area above freezing today.

Sharp-shinned hawk fluffing his feathers.

Sharp-shinned hawk fluffing his feathers.

All puffed up.

All puffed up.

I got a nice close-up.

Sharp-shinned hawk giving me the stare down.

Sharp-shinned hawk giving me the stare down.

He stayed around for several minutes all totaled.ย  Eventually he flew onto a stump where I put bird food off to the right, out of camera view, and then took off, without having gotten a single bite to eat!

Originally I had a lot more photos chosen to put into this post but when I began putting them in, I realized a lot of them looked the same, so I limited myself.ย  The pictures aren’t crystal clear, but I was shooting from behind a double-paned window with lots of smudges on the outside. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today’s visitor brought my 2015 Big Bird List up to 22 species.ย  So far I have seen 1.) Goldfinch, 2.) House finch, 3.) Tufted titmouse, 4.) Blue jay, 5.) White-breasted nuthatch, 6.) Red-bellied woodpecker, 7.) Downy woodpecker, 8.) Dark-eyed junco, 9.) House sparrow, 10.) Chickadee, 11.) Cardinal, 12.) Mourning dove, 13.) Wild turkey, 14.) Canadian goose, 15.) European starling, 16.) American crow, 17,) Hairy woodpecker, 18.) Red-breasted nuthatch, 19.) Bald eagle, 20.) Chipping sparrow, 21.) Purple finch, 22.) Sharp-shinned hawk.

I know I’ve actually seen more than these 22 species but unless I can get a clear, positive identification, I don’t add it to the list.ย  Like the snow buntings we are fairly sure we saw last weekend are not on here. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you enjoyed this close encounter of the hawkish kind!

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16 Responses to Feeling Hawkish

  1. Bob Zeller says:

    Great story and photos, Amy. I would love to have one of those outside our patio door. I have a gut feeling that this may be a Cooper’s Hawk and not a Sharpie. I am thinking of the flatish head and how the eyes are set forward a bit. Those two species are so close alike it is sometimes to tell the difference. The Cooper’s is a bit larger at 16″ tall where the Sharp-shinned is only 11″. You may be able to tell from that. Still all wonderful photos. I am jealous. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • It was very small, which is why we thought it was a sharp-shinned rather than a Cooper’s. It looked to only be about a foot high or less. I went on the “how to identify your bird” web sight thing trying to decide, and we poured over the Sibley’s and the Peterson’s. Also, it had very long tail feathers with distinct black and gray bands. I will go back and look again though, just to be sure. ๐Ÿ™‚ One of my goals this year is to get better at identifying hawks!

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      • Well, Mark and I have continued to compare my photos with those of the Sharp-shinned and the Cooper’s hawks on the All about birds web sight and it is still a toss-up, although Mark is leaning more toward it being a Cooper’s due to the large amount of white blotches on its back. I’m still not 100% sure either way, but lean more toward the sharp-shinned. I guess identifying hawks is going to be much harder than I expected!!

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      • Bob Zeller says:

        I certainly could be wrong. It was just the first impression when I saw it. As I said, they both are so similar except for the size. I think the only way to be definite is if you can see them side by side. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I will say, you can show the picture to ten different people and half will say Coopers and the other half will say Sharp-shinned. With your height description it would be a Sharp-shinned. But it is fun trying to identify them, isn’t it.

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    • Yes, it sure is! It makes me really look at details! Now that I’m trying to keep this list of species, I want to be accurate. I had Mark staring out the window trying to identify sparrows this morning, too! I think I might invest in another of the Audubon photo field guides. We have one up north but I think I would like one here at home to have the photo comparison. The Sibley’s is a bit different and will take some getting used to. Maybe if I have THREE field guides and the internet, I will get more accurate at identifications! LOL

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      • Bob Zeller says:

        I think that the Stokes Field guide to North American Birds
        is the best that I, personally, have come across. Plenty of photos of each species. As a matter of fact for the Red-tailed Hawk, there are 23 photos.

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    • Wow! I will have to look for that one. I had heard good things about the Sibley’s so asked for it for Christmas, but it’s a little hard to use, I don’t think the identifiers are real clear and the species are a bit mixed up in the way it’s broken down. Like there is a section for sparrows but then common species, like the house sparrow, are in a different section. :/

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      • Bob Zeller says:

        I like my Sibley’s when I want to confirm field marks. BTW, the House Sparrow is at the end of the book, (in Stokes) or in a different place in other guides, because it is an “Old World” bird, not native to the North American continent. Don’t ask me why the put it in another place.

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  2. tootlepedal says:

    You made the most of your opportunity.

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  3. kathydoremus says:

    Great set of pictures. What a handsome hawk!

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  4. Great photos of which ever species it turns out to be. My first thought was a Cooper’s hawk until I saw the photos of it perched on the end of the Christmas tree. The sawed off end of the tree makes a good way of judging the size of the hawk, now I think that you’re right, it was a sharpie. If it was a Cooper’s hawk, it was the smallest one that I’ve ever seen.

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  5. Tiny says:

    What a great story and wonderful pictures of the juvenile!

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