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By nealdoan
I have to admit, I am terrible with raptors so would appreciate any assistance you can give me for this one. It had black bands on it's tail. I went through my books and could not be sure of an ID. Photo taken at Boundary Bay, B.C.

ImageHawk by Neal, on Flickr
By rawalker
Well it's either a juvenile Cooper's or sharp-shinned, which are notoriously troublesome to identify at times. I'm going to suggest sharp-shinned for this one but interested to hear what others have to say.
By birdergirl
Hi Neal,

I agree with Randy's suggestion of a Sharpie.

Note the breast streaking, which on your bird is presented as thick big red streaks down the whole chest and belly. This is a helpful field mark in juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawks.

On a juvenile Cooper's Hawk you would normally see thin dark streaks on the upper breast that taper down to a mostly white belly.

Also, note the long-legged appearance on this bird. Cooper's look more squat.

By Rokman
Just to make it interesting, I will offer the opinion that this looks more like a Cooper’s to me. As Mel pointed out, the breast streaks are thick and reddish, more so than one should expect on a Coop. But they are also sharper and less fuzzy than one would expect for a Sharpie. Although this field mark is often distinctive enough to help with an ID, there is a lot of variation, and on this individual I don’t trust it. Looking at other features, the bird’s head appears large and flat-topped, and the eye appears well forward. A Sharpie has a smaller, more rounded head and the eye is more central. The legs and feet this on bird look large and robust, whereas Sharpies are described as having relatively spindly legs and small feet. Finally, Coops are fairly often seen on the open Boundary Bay foreshore, but I have never personally been able to ID a Sharpie in that habitat. Quiet possible, but odds favour Cooper’s.
Anybody else care to chime in? Rokman
By birdergirl
Hi Carlo,

I have seen Sharpies along the open foreshore at Boundary Bay. Ilya said he has also seen a Sharpie with you at the foot of 64th :wink:.

I agree Sharpies and Cooper's are pretty much variable in every feature. However, normally I find breast streaking patterns in juveniles as a fairly reliable tool; especially when you have other supportive features in the bird. In this bird the breast streaking looks as I've described in the previous posts above. I feel it fits much better for Sharpie as opposed to a Coop. The placement of the eye seems fine for Sharpie to me. I also feel that the eye placement can appear varied due to the posture of the head. The bird seems to have a no neck appearance to me. Leg thickness can be very hard to judge sometimes, especially if it is a larger female Sharpie. Here is a webpage that shows thicker legged juvenile Sharpies and the difference in eye colour: ... th_12.html

Also, in regards to the eye it looks orange to me which is a sign of a juvenile Sharpie while a juvie Cooper's would have a bright yellow eye. You can even see the contrast in the yellow on the bill in comparison to the orange eye in Neal's shot.


PS. I have got a second opinion as requested from Peter Candido, Chris Charlesworth and Yousif Attia, who also agree with SSHA.
By Rokman
Well the experts have been heard from, and Sharpie unanimously gets the nod.
Perhaps it is now apparent why I see (i.e., recognize) so few Sharp-shinneds in the field!
Rokman :? :oops: :( :lol:
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