I had the welcome opportunity to display my bird watching skills yesterday. Daughter Rendy’s floor-to-ceiling windows are occasionally used by errant birds to knock themselves silly. She sent me a picture of the last one. It was obviously an Accipter Striatus, aka Sharp Shinned Hawk, although it wouldn’t be terribly amiss to think Hawk Owl given it’s size and coloring. I immediately dismissed Sparrow Hawk as another possibility given the color of the bird.
Of course, coloration of Accipiter’s can vary with a marked differences between juvenile and mature birds. Oh, my. You don’t suppose I’m wrong? Of course, I’m working from a picture. That could make a difference. I think I’d better check my Audubon book again. I don’t want to be wrong about this. I do wish I had the bird in front of me. Nope. The book still tells me it is an Accipter Striatus…maybe.
Enough of this indecision and doubt. I’ve decided I really need to simplify this hawk identification business. Maybe I’ll go back to an earlier time when there were bald eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, and sparrow hawks (which included all Accipiters). The rest were simply chicken hawks that had no Latin names whatsoever. So, if you see a big bird sailing overhead and it isn’t a bald eagle or a buzzard, nine times out of ten you will be correct if you identify it as a chicken hawk. Now, grab your binoculars and go have some fun.