The Sharp-Shinned and Cooper’s Hawks look too much alike.  Side by side the difference is easy.  The Cooper’s is much larger.  If you have a small hawk pestering the birds at your feeder in the Winter, and it has a long, banded tail, it is probably a Sharp-Shinned.  The red eye means maturity.  Below is a Sharp-Shinned.  The younger ones lack the color.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

Because of its length, this is a Cooper’s Hawk,  juvenile, and not a Sharp-Shinned.  The Cooper’s is said to average sixteen inches in length and the Sharp-Shinned eleven.Cooper's Hawk (Juvenile)

This one is a Cooper’s.  A large bird, it has taken down a pigeon, a bird probably too large for a Sharp-Shinned.  This picture was taken behind Walmart in Sterling.Cooper's Hawk

Below is a Sharp-Shinned devouring a small bird.


It ate everything, including the bones.  After it left, so little remained I was unable to recognize what the prey had been.  Hawks, like owls, regurgitate pellets of the undigestible matter they swallow.

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