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Old Nov 17, 2004, 11:19 PM   #11
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Now that smac has mentioned it, the frame definitely does look like a lawnmower handle and that being the case, that pipe is definitely not 1" diameter. More like a 1/2" or a little more. That makes the bird Sharpie size for sure. So, your analysis was right on Eric! And I agree with you. Way to go!
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 6:32 AM   #12
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eric s, geoffs, and smac - many thanks guys for the most interesting discussion on the id of this hawk - well let me give you some info that you requested - I live in the far eastern portion of Virginia on a farm of several hundred acres out in the middle of nowhere, on what is known as the eastern shore of VA, on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay- I live about 200 yards from a small bay in front of my house and about 2 miles from the ocean - nearest town of any size is Salisbury, MD, about 40 miles north of here as well as about 35 miles south of Ocean City, MD - you are right geoffs about the size of the structure that the hawk is sitting on, it's about 1 inch in diameter and the structure is a garden gazebo, one of those cheap things that you put together by sliding one tube inside of another - I shot this through a dirty kitchen window, and the hawk was about 25 to 30 feet away from me - as you can tell, the light wasn't that good, it was nearing noon and I think I took this shot in February or March of this year - north is to the right and south is to the left of the picture - I did take a picture of a sharp-shinned hawk, which pitched in a tree above me last year, did it to identify it, it didn't turn out so good, but was good enough to make the id - I do believe that this is a juvenile of a hawk species, this was the concensus opinion of the folks that I had asked - but no one could positively id it - and I have looked through multiple books that I own and some that I looked through in the library - I'm sorry that I couldn't get back on to respond to you last night, the wife was on the computer, and I'm going away for the weekend, but, will look forward to any more suggestions that you might have, it's most interesting to hear and to learn from some folks that have a lot of experience at this - many thanks again for the taking the time and effort to help me - take care - Gene
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 8:44 AM   #13
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Thanks for all that info. Let see.

That certainly rules out Grey hawk. They are in sothern Arizona. Not that we were considering that any ways.

My best rapter book (the one I listed above) says that Nothern Goshawk's are in "Western Virgina", so one going over to eastern is certainly not out of the question.

Cooper's are all over, breeding in "open forests" which to me means you have trees around but you also see them in openings like back yards with trees around them.

The description of the range of a Sharpie in this book seems like it might lean away from it. It reads:
Quote:
Breeds in forests of eastern, northern, and mountainous western N. America. Concentrates on migration in a few locations on Great Lakes and Atlantic coast. Winters throughout U.S., except nothern Great Plains, as well as farther south.
. That seems to suggest that a immature would probably not be traveling down the coast.

So that leans us more towards a Coopers (along with the size of that pipe.)

I bet there are a few good people at www.birdforum.com who could give us a quick ID of this bird. I know the head of the New England Hawk Watch society (and I know the former head of it) who might have some ideas. If you want, I could throw this picture into my group show this weekend and see what he thinks (actually, several members of that organiation will probably be there.) I would not, of course, take credit for the picture.

Eric
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 8:58 AM   #14
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Hmmm, so that pipe was about 1" in diameter. Well, I guess that reminds me once again what I learned in school many years ago - that your best guess is always your first guess! (very valuable to remember that on multiple choice question type of tests!!!)

So, that does rule out Sharpie based on what I did in Photoshop. I guess my instinct tells me to also go with my first guess that it is a Goshawk. Why? Because of the white splotches on the back which is more likely on the goshawk as compared to the Cooper's juveniles. In addition, the beginnings of the white stripe over the eye is also more typical of the goshawk as compared to the Cooper's. And lastly, even though difficult to really say in this image, the tail does not seem long enough compared to the rest of the body as it should be for the Cooper's.

One last thing, actually going against me here, is that the Goshawk is listed as rare in Gene's area in winter. But, he is on the periphery of that area as listed in the Sibley guide and winter ranges can tend to be somewhat fluid, especially along coastal regions. So, despite that going against me, I'll still stick with Goshawk. If it's really a Cooper's, so be it.

Well, that's my final take on it. Eric, it would be valuable for you to show this at the group show you are going to this weekend. Beyond that, yes, birdforum is the place to go with it. I'd be happy to do that, or you could, or Gene could.

Great discussion. The type of discussion we've been missing in this forum for some months now!

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Old Nov 18, 2004, 9:16 AM   #15
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eric s and geoffs - many thanks again for the info - my nearest neighbor, about 300 yards away, said that she believed that it was a Cooper's, she worked for a wildlife agency for years, but now she's in her mid 80's - so it's good to know - by the way, I have let this part of the yard go back to nature, lots of trees and shrubs close to the numerous feeders and it's a good place for the birds to hide when the hawks come hunting - I've seen numerous Kestrels in the yard, as well as bald eagles and sea hawks around the yard, so this place is ripe with birds and other wildlife - and, the hawk in the photograph did not change position, it did not turn toward the house, I do believe it saw me, but tolerated me as long as I didn't make any sudden moves in the house - anyway, thanks again guys, I'm constantly learning, and maybe next time I'll be lucky enough to be in my homemade blind with camera on the tripod the next time a hawk comes calling - thanks again and take care - Gene
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 9:20 AM   #16
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Thanks for posting it, this was fun!

Eric
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 12:44 PM   #17
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I love a good mystery. :?:

I have a falconer friend who has set me straight several times on raptor ID's. I think I will shoot by him and see what he thinks.

This has been fun, Darn, I was sure it was a lawn mower handle. Oh well perspective is a tricky thing.

smac
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 12:34 AM   #18
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I was doing some web research and I still think it's a sharp-shinned hawk

I found this picture at the all about birds website.

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/program...nned_Hawk.html

See what you think.

Sticken to my guns,

smac
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 7:37 PM   #19
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Good shot of that sparrow, Gene. I've seen a few of those myself and really appreciate their appearance; neat looking bird, I think the yellow just layers on the icing for me.
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 1:09 AM   #20
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Ok GeneF,

I heard back from my falconer friend and this is what he had to say about your little hawk;

"That is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. It is very closely related to a Coopers hawk, but about 1/3 smaller. They are actually very common around here but are very shy and secretive. They nest in upper Bidwell, and just into the conifers near Paradise. They feed primarily on small birds and are very, very fast. This particular one looks to be a female, as the females are about 1/3 larger than the males and the males are very small indeed. They have very short wings that allow them to maneuver through the trees easily, and a very long tail for steering."

Bidwell is our local city park. One of, if not the, largest city park in the country. It's close to 5000 acres. Crawling up into the Sierra foothills from the Sacramento Valley. Paradise is a nearby foothill town.

So there you are.

Once I start a quest I like to see it through. I hope I wasn't to fanatical about it. I just enjoy the journey.

Keep shooten'
smac
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