Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk (en anglais)
Sharp-shinned (Accipiter striatus) and Cooper’s (Accipiter cooperii) hawks commonly prey on feeder birds, and they are frequently reported by FeederWatchers. Despite their common occurrence, these hawks present a significant identification problem for many beginning and intermediate (and even more advanced!) birders. There is great variation in plumage and in size for these two species. Therefore, perhaps more than any other similar-looking birds, no single field mark is likely to distinguish one species from the other. Instead, the careful observer must use a combination of field marks and draw from the overall « gestalt » of the hawk for proper identification. No field guide will substitute for plenty of practice in the field.
If you participate in Project FeederWatch, observed one of these two hawks during a FeederWatch count, and are not absolutely certain which hawk you observed, please report the bird as an « Accipiter sp. » (the genus in which these two species are classified). You will need to add this species name to your list using the « Add Species » button.