Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Sharp-shinned Hawk Acipiter striatus

The sharp-shinned hawk is the smallest North American accipiter. Its short wings and body design allow it to capture other birds while flying through thick woodlands.

The slender, long-bodied sharp-shinned hawk has short, rounded wings and a long, narrow tail. The adult has a dark, blue-gray back and a rusty-barred breast; immature hawks have more brown, with streaking on the underparts. The sexes are similar in appearance, but the female is about one-third larger than the male. Like all accipiters (a genus of small hawks with short wings and long tails), the sharp-shinned flies with several quick wing beats and a glide. The species is easily confused with the Cooper’s hawk, although it is much smaller. Whereas the tail of the Cooper’s hawk is well rounded, the tail of the sharp-shinned hawk is nearly square or slightly forked and the tip is not sharply defined, appearing dirty gray.

In the Northeast, the sharp-shinned hawk is the most common accipiter seen during migration. In Connecticut, sharp-shinned hawks are seldom seen except during fall migration, when they frequent open country, woodland edges and shorelines.

The hawks usually bring their prey to a feeding perch or log. Such logs, and the feathers, fur or animal parts near them, are characteristic of the territory of sharp-shinned hawks and other accipiters.


Blogger Pam in Tucson said...

How beautiful! The first photo is like a fine, fine painting - dramatic and so beautifully composed. Wonderful photos and interesting description.

11:22 PM  
Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

Great pics!

Does this bird have *lunch* in its talons, or am I seeing things?

11:31 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

Thanks for the encouragement

Yep --- he found a titmouse for lunch - Watched him for over half an hour and probably took over a hundred photos while he had his meal.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Gwyn said...

Wonderful photos. We have them here as well, though I've been seeing Cooper's in my yard. Looks like it got another junco the other day, judging by the scattering of feathers under the feeders.

10:36 AM  
Blogger KL said...

Are these paintings or photography? I thought they were some exceptional paintings. Whatever they are, they are really beautiful. I live in NY (Long Island), but never got to capture such pictures.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Melly n David said...

I would love to see one of the photos where he was eatting! Nice blog! I live near you in Connecticut and I love birds. I am a fellow AW.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Endment said...

We have the Cooper's hawk here too. We seem to be on a small hawk flyway-- We have put in a lot of shelter for the little birds.

welcome to my blog, thanks for your comment, these are photos taken with a canon sureshot out our window.
I used to live on Long Island and had hawks visit our yard on a regular basis.

thanks for your visit and welcome
We like to check out the birds at the Audubon Society refuge in Shirley Connecticut. (can't find your blog ---

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Claude said...

Those photos are stunning.
I will certainly be back to see more :)

4:46 PM  

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