Spot the raptor and identify it

July 20, 2022 • 8:30 am

We had a duck alert yesterday afternoon caused by the presence of this raptor, who flew over the pond and settled in a tree right by the water. The bird was small—too small to take a good-sized duck, I think, buttI don’t know the species. Can you identify it? (All photos by Jean Greenberg).

Can you spot it? The ducks sure did! They go on alert seeing raptors way overhead or dogs in the distance—things that we humans can’t see. Ducks must have terrific eyesight. Of course you must click to enlarge. The reveal is below the fold.

Click “read more” to see the reveal:

Here’s the raptor (circled), whatever it is. Click picture to enlarge. (preferably twice in succession with a slight pause between clicks)

9 thoughts on “Spot the raptor and identify it

  1. Maybe a sharp-shinned or male Cooper’s? It’s undoubtedly a juvenile, given the brown coloration. Adults of both species have gray backs and rust-colored barring on the breast. Female hawks are larger than males, and the female sharp-shinned is about 12-14″, similar to the male Cooper’s hawk. Female Cooper’s are much larger (up to about 20″).

  2. I never thought about it before, but I guess, being high-flying birds themselves, and some of whose key natural predators are other birds, ducks really OUGHT to have excellent vision.

  3. Although it could be the angle of the photo, the tail seems proportionally too short for an accipiter and seems more in line with a buteo. I think it’s an immature Broad-winged Hawk.

  4. Broad-winged hawk. Cooper’s is large 14-20 inches. Jerry says it was small. Also no color on breast. Tail bands look right. Broad=winged Hawk perched looks like large pigeon. Not Sharp=shinned, which is jay sized and doesnt perch in the open.

  5. I find so many details about hawks here – it is a challenge to identify them, they are so dynamic and snapping pics is so ineffective (for me).

  6. My first thought was a Buteo of some sort; it didn’t look small to me, but the size cues of the tree might be misleading (i.e. the branch may be thinner than I think). I’ve seen adult Red-tailed Hawks eat Canada Goose goslings, and unsuccessfully attack an adult Canada Goose. (The Hawk hit the Goose mid-back while the latter was in the water; the Goose dove and stayed under for a bit. Only time I’ve ever seen a Canada Goose dive.)


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