Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk

This winter I have had a number of opportunities to photograph hawks as they check out our bird feeders for a snack of the “winged” kind.  I have found it a real challenge to tell the difference between the Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk.  They are so similar!  The field guide indicates that the Sharp-shinned Hawk has a more squared-off tail, while the Cooper’s Hawk tail is longer and rounded at the corners.  The Sharp-shinned Hawk’s crown is similar to the back in color, while the Cooper’s Hawk appears to have a cap, darker than the back color.  I think I finally figured it out, thanks to the ability to study the differences in these photos I took over the last few weeks.

Note squared-off tail

Note squared-off tail

Note cap on crown
Note cap on crown

 

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