The Eagle? Hawk? Falcon? Has Landed
July 27, 2010 10:05 PM   Subscribe

Name that bird of prey! (Photo #1, Photo #2). Seen today in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, near the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains (Hollywood Hills).
posted by Asparagirl to Science & Nature (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He's probably a Red Tailed. He's got the famous family bare yellow legs.

Photo #19 on this page shows a juvenile RTHA with similar colouring.
posted by Sallyfur at 10:17 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Coopers or Sharp-shinned Hawk
posted by ljesse at 10:23 PM on July 27, 2010

Nope. It's an accipiter, an adult, and very likely a Sharp-shinned hawk. The other possibility is Cooper's hawk. They can be difficult to tell apart
posted by rtha at 10:25 PM on July 27, 2010

Gah. Preview fail.
posted by rtha at 10:25 PM on July 27, 2010

that white brow above the eye makes me think of a northern harrier. any chance that you got a look at it's back side? (tail feathers)? most northern harriers have a distinct white rump
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 10:58 PM on July 27, 2010

cooper's hawk. it looks larger than a sharp-shinned. the pictures were taken recently, right? sharp-shinned mainly winter in southern california, cooper's are there year-round.
posted by scrambles at 11:01 PM on July 27, 2010

Man, I should stick to owls.
posted by Sallyfur at 11:07 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was also thinking Cooper's. I've always felt like they kind of look like gangly teenaged redtails, and man, he's got that look.
posted by troublewithwolves at 11:13 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Most likely an immature Cooper's. If it were much larger I'd guess it was an imm. Goshawk.
posted by wowbobwow at 6:03 AM on July 28, 2010

FWIW, I agree that it looks like a Cooper's Hawk.
posted by gavia at 6:48 AM on July 28, 2010

Cooper's Hawk. These are all over San Diego, and presumably LA.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:56 AM on July 28, 2010

nthing Cooper's Hawk. Over the last 10 years in Minneapolis I've watched the local population really grow. It used to be a rare sighting, now very common. It's a bird-eating hawk so they are built for speed...a beautiful bird.

I'd also go with adult-in-molt over immature...
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:13 AM on July 28, 2010

Yup, first glance says Cooper's.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:07 AM on July 28, 2010

Best answer: Definitely Cooper's. I saw one of these on my street (in LA) last week, eating my neighbor's escaped parrot!
posted by synchronia at 12:26 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: Cooper's Hawk it is, then!

So, here's the story behind the sighting. Yesterday, our male tabby was let outside into our (fenced) backyard earlier in the morning than he usually goes out, and he brought back into our bedroom a small rodenty present for us -- who was fortunately still alive and seemingly unharmed. We shooed the mouse/rat back outside, locked the cat inside, and then wondered what to do about it. We had no obvious way to trap and relocate the rodent, and it was probably living off the cornucopia of fallen overripe apples and other fruit in the backyard, so it would doubtless return and be caught by our cat again. Another showdown seemed inevitable, and next time we assumed the entrails would be all over our floor.

Now, the windows in my husband's office (our converted garage) overlook the backyard, and two of the apple trees are right in front of the windows. Around noon yesterday, he watched through the windows in his office in surprise as what looked like a small hawk essentially dive-bombed the ground, while the neighborhood birds all around the house shrieked in terror and alarm. The hawk futzed around a bit under the apple trees, and then emerged with the rodent in its talons, and took off again. My husband is the one who took the photos linked here, though his office windows.

The rodent must have been slightly injured or disoriented after its adventure that morning to not be safe in its (possibly destroyed by the cat) hidey-hole in the middle of the day. Maybe it was making some kind of noise the hawk could hear -- because it was still pretty hidden visually in the dirt and flowers. In any case, that hawk somehow managed to find it from what must have been very far above the ground. Impressive.

So, we got rid of our rodent problem in a natural way without having to resort to letting our cat make a mess. And the Cooper's Hawk, which traditionally eats birds (!), got to have a yummy rodent snack while sparing our lovely local mourning doves. A win-win all around!
posted by Asparagirl at 5:45 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: Um, except for the mouse, of course.
posted by Asparagirl at 5:47 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older How bad is the 2010 job market?   |   Tattling during an audit Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.