Photography, Photos & VideosPicture of the Week: Sharp-shinned Hawk? feeding on starling

Picture of the Week: Sharp-shinned Hawk? feeding on starling

Sharp-shinned hawk feeding on starling. Photo by E Zimmerman
Photo by Bet Zimmerman Smith in CT

This is (I think) a Sharp-shinned Hawk feeding on a dead starling. Sharp-shinned Hawks are listed as Endangered by the State of Connecticut. It can be difficult to tell a Sharp-shinned Hawk from a Cooper’s Hawk. See ID tips at the The Great Backyard Bird Count website. This hawk appears to be a juvenile (first year.) The photo below of a bird perched on a House Sparrow trap is almost certainly a Sharp-shinned. They are the smallest of our accipiters.

Sharp-shinned Hawk by Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Trap

This is almost certainly a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It stayed by this Deluxe Repeating Sparrow Trap (which contained several House Sparrow decoys) for several hours.

The hawk plucked the feathers from the breast first, and they were everywhere. It was mainly picking at the breast and throat area. It was very reluctant to leave the dead bird, and did not fly off until I was about ten feet away. I don’t know if the hawk killed the Starling – it may have found a dead one, as the bird looked like it was frozen.

Cooper’s, Sharp-shinned, and Swainson’s Hawks, and Kestrels will sometimes take birds (especially fledglings) at feeders, and may raid nestboxes.

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You cannot begin to preserve any species of animal unless you preserve the habitat in which it dwells. Disturb or destroy that habitat and you will exterminate the species as surely as if you had shot it. So conservation means that you have to preserve forest and grassland, river and lake, even the sea itself. This is vital not only for the preservation of animal life generally, but for the future existence of man himself—a point that seems to escape many people.
-Gerald Durrell, The Nature Conservancy


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