So, yet another bird for the weekend count! I know it was a Sharpie and not a Cooper's Hawk mostly because of the size. A Sharp-shinned hawk is not much bigger than an robin or a jay...though with all hawks, females are nearly big as large as males. A female Sharp-shinned Hawk could be about the size of a (small) male Cooper's and a large female Cooper's could be nearly as large as a Red-tailed hawk! So what was the other clue? A Sharpie's tale is squared-off...the edges are 'sharp' compared to a Coop's more rounded tail-feathers. Just another play on words to help remember differences!
Here's an interesting montage showing the two birds together...also from the free Wikimedia:
According to size alone, that should be a male Cooper's hawk on the left and a female Sharp-shinned hawk on the right. While it's hard to see here, the slightly longer tail (both physically and proportionally) on the Cooper's has a noticeably wider, pale terminal band. Also, the Coop's head is larger and extends past the bend in a flying bird's wing. Click either bird's name above and see many more photos of each species.
Another tidbit from Bill Thompson III's Identify Yourself : "...the rule of thumb is that Cooper's are the longest accipiter and sharp-shinneds are the most compact. The longer tail and greater head projection of Cooper's make it seem longer than it is wide. The shorter tail and smaller head and proportionally longer wings make sharp-shinneds seem more compact and shaped more like a buteo, such as a broad-winged or red-tailed hawk."
You folks may have seen an online pal's comments here from time to time...or perhaps you've visited one of his websites that I list on the right: Burque Birding or Bosque Bill's Place. I frequent both and find his wealth of information more than helpful and his photographs stunning. Here are some of Bill's hummingbird shots.
At any rate, since we just discussed how difficult it can be for a novice like me to get the hang of two similarly-marked birds, Bill let me include a couple of his videos here, to help show the two little brown, stripy birds I wrote about earlier this weekend.
White-crowned sparrow by BosqueBill:
White-throated sparrow by BosqueBill:
You can find more of BosqueBill's video clips here.