What raptor is this? Help me id the bird
October 4, 2019 8:58 AM   Subscribe

On my way into work today I saw this bird chilling on a fence in the train parking lot. I'd love to know what it is. Location is the Bay Area peninsula.
posted by Carillon to Pets & Animals (9 answers total)
Looks like a Cooper's hawk, see here.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 9:23 AM on October 4, 2019

Maybe a Sharp Shinned?
posted by onebyone at 9:30 AM on October 4, 2019

It's either Cooper's Hawk or Sharp-shinned Hawk. Looks like Cooper's to me, the ends of the tail appear somewhat rounded, with a white terminal band on the tail. Also looks too big for Sharp-shinned, but that's difficult to judge.
posted by jkent at 9:35 AM on October 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yep, it's one of those Accipiter hawks! +1 to @jkent.
posted by dondiego87 at 9:42 AM on October 4, 2019

It definitely seemed more crow sized which from the links would make it a cooper's hawk I think. Thank you so much!
posted by Carillon at 9:48 AM on October 4, 2019

Cooper's & Sharp-Shinned are notoriously difficult to differentiate, but I would also tend towards Cooper's given the shape of the head.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:58 AM on October 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Oh, and their primary food is other birds, so it was probably looking for starlings, pigeons, robins, or other common urban/suburban birds.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:00 AM on October 4, 2019

For future reference, the Audubon Society has a Bird Guide App which helps you identify birds by habitat, size, behavior, physical description, wing and tail shape, and bird category.

I can't say it would work great on this feathered friend because it's not doing anything, birdwise, but it's a good start. Using your pics, it gave me 11 candidates, of which, IMO, an immature Cooper's Hawk seems like the closest match.

The generally even, bland coloring generally indicates a juvenile, to me. It should become more distinctive as it matures and starts signalling its sex.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:07 PM on October 4, 2019

Forgive me, but this question made me miss rtha. I bet she would've chimed in.
posted by spork at 6:52 PM on October 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

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