Sharp-Shinned Hawk or Cooper’s Hawk?

We have two bird feeders in the pergola and enjoy the daily chittering and alarm calls of lesser goldfinches, juncos, house and purple finches, and the dedicated mourning doves who pick up any spillage. But in the last few months, we’ve noticed these birds are being eaten by neighborhood hawks.

Just last week, the hawk pictured below flew through, on reconnaissance, before landing on a planter at the edge of the garden. It gives new meaning to the notion of bird feeding. But there are far more little birds than raptors in our neighborhood, and everybody’s gotta eat.

Sharp-Shinned or Cooper’s Hawk?

The photo is distorted, as it was taken through a screen door. This hawk appears slightly smaller in stature than the Cooper’s Hawks, which also keep an eye on their menu options in our garden. But the All About Birds resource on Sharp-Shinned Hawks indicates they are tricky to correctly identify.

One thing is for certain: there’s an eerie silence after a raptor has flown through the bower blossom and bougainvillea vines, even when we’re pretty sure the hawk left empty-talonned.

And then the urge to eat is too great, and our small-feathered friends return, trusting that tomorrow, the feeders will be refreshed and the two water baths will be freshly cleaned and filled.

Published by Mashabu

Earnest observer of our natural world.

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