A visitor in the pines
An immature sharp-shinned hawk
Feb. 2001


Update of 17 March 2002: By consensus (and examining a video I also took but forgot about), the fellow is an immature sharp-shinned hawk. Thanks to the folks who helped me identify this bird!

While I was merrily working away, Sue came in and asked me to go to the living room and look out the window. There, about 20 feet away, sitting in the pines was a hawk. At first I assumed it was a kestrel, but I grabbed a camera and a 300mm lens and took several photos (through the window, at Holbrook, Long Island).

As there weren't many more occasions for photos that week, I forgot about the incident, though the hawk came back and perched outside the window again a few days later. Once the photos were developed, I realized that it certainly wasn't any kestrel. Nevertheless, I thought identification would be easy because of the bird's dark cap and all those white spots on its back.
By going through bird ID book after bird ID book, I discovered that although a number of birds were described as having spots, there weren't any pictures or photos of them. The closest I could come was the sharp-shinned hawk, but Sue's voting on a merlin.
Closeup of hawk face

Cooper's hawk   |   Merlin   |   Ms. Golden Eyes

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