Posted by Gary Potter (220.127.116.11) on May 02, 2000 at 09:44:00:
I think the hawk on the left is an immature Red Shouldered Hawk. The black primary tips with a white crescent at their base is good for RSHA. Also the bird looks "dainty" for a Buteo, the streaking on the underparts, coloration on the bill, and the streaking on the upper tail coverts seem about right for Immature RSHA.
The bird on the right is obviously an immature Accipiter. We can eliminate Goshawk because the tail is too long, and the undertail coverts are pure white as in adult GOSH not spotted with brown as in immature GOSH. The other characteristics seem intermediate between Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk. Characteristics supporting COHA are the rounded tail with a prominent white band and the fact that the eye looks to be near the base of the bill rather than centrally located. Characteristics supporting Sharp-shinned are the fact that the head looks smallish and the eye looks huge, plus the streaking on the underparts is rather heavy and extends way down the belly almost to the undertail coverts. To reconcile these seeming contradictions, I think that the tail looks rounded because the outer rectrices are obviously growing in following a moult as indicated by the sharp distinction between between the tips of these feathers and the central tail. The appearance that the eye is well foreward may be an artifact of the angle of the photograph. The white tail tip may look more prominant than it really is because of the backlighting. I think that these all add up to a majority of characteristics supporting SSHA over COHA. One other factor is that the head appears to not stick out beyond the leading edges of the wing, but when putting a straight edge from wrist to wrist it seems to stick too far out to be SSHA. All things taken together, however, I still think that it is most likely a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but from a single photograph, I wouldn't bet the farm on it!
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