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Anyone good at identifying birds?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
This has been hanging out in my backyard:



Any ideas what it could be?
post #2 of 24
Either a Harrier or a Red Tailed Hawk. Harriers overwinter in New England - used to see them outside my office window when I was up there.

post #3 of 24
How big does it appear to be? It is difficult to tell from the photo. Maybe 6 inches tall? a foot tall?
post #4 of 24
It looks like a female hawk of some kind, by the look of her beak/face. I'm not sure of the exact name of the bird. It looks like the wing was clipped or cut at some point...

ETA - It does look like a Harrier. http://www.pbase.com/imagestruck/image/70590575 She's just poofed up to keep warm. lol
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PintaMeez View Post
How big does it appear to be? It is difficult to tell from the photo. Maybe 6 inches tall? a foot tall?
At least a foot. It's bigger than my cat.


After googling harrier and red-tailed hawks, it could very well be either of those.
post #6 of 24
It is beautiful! A couple years ago, I had some Peregrine Falcons living in a very large dead tree near my house, they were gorgeous and interesting to watch, but VERY noisy. They raised babies up there, that was cool.
post #7 of 24
Most hawks are quite a bit bigger than a foot, if it is around 12 inches though, I'd say it's a Cooper's Hawk, especially given the relatively small head/beak.
post #8 of 24
Cooper's Hawk. Look at the s-hook on the railing below it's right foot. Either that's a huge hook or a small hawk. I vote for small hawk. It's probably not a Sharpie (Sharp-shinned Hawk) beause of the rounded end of the tail with a wide white tip. Sharpie's tails are straight across at the end and have a thin white edge.

The yellow eye and thin streaking on the breast show that it's a juvenile Coopers (1st year). Adults have red eyes.
post #9 of 24
Looking around on eNature.com - I am thinking Coopers or Northern Harrier and it might be an immature bird with the distinctive white banding on the tail.

Not a red-tailed - don't think - we have lots of those around here and true to it's name it has a rust colored tail.
post #10 of 24
It's an immature Northern Goshawk. The tail striped like that is a definitive marking as well as the "eyebrow." These hawks are about 20 inches, so yes, bigger than a cat. If you want to see a good picture, look at "Stokes Field Guide to Birds." I have the Western edition, but the bird has a large range, including MA. I am a bird watcher.
post #11 of 24
BTW, Northern Goshawks belong to the family "accipitirdae" which are goshawks and sparrow hawks. What we really think of as hawks are buzzards and hawks, like the red-tailed hawk.

Don't even get me started about falcons. Like I said, I really am a bird watcher.
post #12 of 24
It's a raptor- that's for sure. They're so pretty.

I have a Sharp-Shinned hawk that will hang around the bird feeders. They are beautiful birds- I just wish they wouldn't use my bird feeders as their personal dining room tables
post #13 of 24
It looks very much like the goshawks I have in my area. It is hard to tell from the picture but does it have 3 or 5 bands on the underside of it's tail.
3 bands for a goshawk.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tierre0 View Post
It looks very much like the goshawks I have in my area. It is hard to tell from the picture but does it have 3 or 5 bands on the underside of it's tail.
3 bands for a goshawk.
The pattern of the spots on the chest are that of the goshawk - more like distinct dots. Sharp-shinned hawks have a mottled breast with rufous areas and Cooper's hawks have streaks rather than dots.

We have very hungry Cooper's hawks around here that think that the mourning doves are such a tasty meal.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas everyone! It's interesting that you all think it is a juvenile bird. We also thought it was a bit on the small side for a hawk.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by butzie View Post
The pattern of the spots on the chest are that of the goshawk - more like distinct dots. Sharp-shinned hawks have a mottled breast with rufous areas and Cooper's hawks have streaks rather than dots.

We have very hungry Cooper's hawks around here that think that the mourning doves are such a tasty meal.
The first time I saw a pile of feathers under the feeder- I was puzzled. If it had been a cat- there'd be a bird there. But there were just feathers.

Well, several months later this Sharp Shinned Hawk is sitting on the tree branches- above the feeders. So I figured out that there was a hawk who liked my feeders

The bird was chasing a dove (or something like that) and hit my bow window in the kitchen I was afraid the poor bird was seriously hurt- so I called a local rehabber. By the time the rehabber got back to me- we'd picked the bird up- set him on the outside table to get his (her?) bearings, and it had flown off.

Don't have time now- but I promise sometime within the next day I'll post a couple of pictures of it. It was kind of neat seeing a raptor up that close.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
There is a big pile of feathers and some blood under one of my feeders today.
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom View Post
There is a big pile of feathers and some blood under one of my feeders today.
Eeep! I guess that new bird feeder works, huh? Little did you know that the bird you'd be feeding would be a hawk.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah, no squirrels yet., just hawks.
post #20 of 24
I love how everyone is sure it's a different sort of bird

Luckily, I am an expert and can definitively tell you it's a "White-chested brown bird with spots".
post #21 of 24
Sounds like he likes your birdfeeder just fine.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
I love how everyone is sure it's a different sort of bird

Luckily, I am an expert and can definitively tell you it's a "White-chested brown bird with spots".
And I thought *I* was a brat!

post #23 of 24
It's not a red-tailed. That's about the most common bird of prey in my area and they don't look the same. You can tell a Harrier by the way it flies. It tends to swoop the ground and fly very low. We have those around here also, and this bird's head isn't shaped quite right.

Karen - how do you have your bird feeder rigged up? If you hang it high enough on a tree, cats usually can't get to them. If they are on a post, I can tell you from experience that a cat will be able to leap up and catch a bird while feeding. My Bob's mom (feral cat) was an outstanding birder, and used to sit on the opposite side of the feeder on the ground from where the birds were, then leap into the air, twisting around to the other side of the feeder to catch the bird. We raised the feeder up another foot to discourage her, but then I was too short to fill it, so DH had to take over that job.
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
The birdfeeders where the carnage was are on one of these:

http://www.gardeners.com/Birdfeeding...efault,pd.html
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