Sharp-shinned Hawk

May 21, 2012

If you have sharp eye-sight you may be able to spot a Sharp-shinned Hawk  (Accipiter striatus) at Mount Auburn!

Sharp-shinned Hawks are about the size of a Blue Jay or Dove and are the smallest Hawk in North America.  They often hunt near bird-feeders and capture small birds by concealing their approach in brush and launching a surprise attack in lightning-quick strikes.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology reports that fewer Accipiters such as the Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk are migrating in recent years since they have learned that they can survive year-round if they find a good feeder area to patrol.

As you can see from the photo John Harrison took of the Hawk above – Sharp-shins and Cooper’s Hawks can be a challenge to distinguish

What is your vote for the hawk he snapped this photo of near Auburn Lake earlier this year?  Hint, Sharp-shinned Hawks have a shorter, squared tail, thinner legs, a smaller head and neck, and quick, choppy wingbeats.

Check the Bird Chalkboard in the Egyptian Revival Entrance to see if one was seen at Mount Auburn on the day of your visit!


Photo by John “Garp” Harrison

About the Author: Jessica Bussmann

Director of Education & Visitor Services View all posts by Jessica Bussmann →

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