Date: 2/9/18 8:05 am
From: Alexandra MacKenzie <mizmak...>
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Need raptor ID help

My little ID help question about a raptor (from 2014) turned into a great
discussion, and as I always thought, hawk ID is hard!

The bird was seen and photographed by me in September 2014 in Magnuson
Park, Seattle. At the time, I identified it as a Cooper’s Hawk. Just this
past week, a birder commented that it might be a Broad-winged Hawk instead,
a definite rarity for this area. After getting more details from him which
left me confused, I put out the call to Tweeters for help. Turned out to
be quite challenging, even for the experts!

I do wish that I had more photos. Sadly, I believe the memory card is
still in the camera I had in 2014—and it, along with the laptop I had then,
were both stolen during a home burglary in 2015. Somewhere, perhaps, a
clueless thief has the definitive ID photo we need.

However, that being said, after reviewing comments sent to the listserv, to
me privately, and posted on the Flickr site (, I’m going to leave the
ID as it is, a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk. It’s been fascinating to read all
the details of the field marks—the experts out there are truly amazing. Thanks
especially to Bud Anderson, always the go-to expert for raptors, for taking
the time to thoroughly study this bird.

The next time I see an accipiter, I sure will be looking a lot more
closely--thanks again, everyone!

Alex MacKenzie

On Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 7:28 AM, Bud Anderson <falconresearch...>

> Alexandra MacKenzie's raptor photo is misleading to many because the
> upward angle of the shot compresses the bird, suggesting that it is far
> more compact than it really is.
> Because of this, people are thinking Broad-wing, which are being seen more
> frequently these days. But it doesn't quite fit.
> If you look closely, this bird becomes what the original person said it
> was, a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.
> And I will confess that I shared this photo with my friend, Bill Clark,
> and we discussed it thoroughly.
> This opinion is based on the following characters.
> First, the toes are bird catching accipitrine toes, long and thin, not
> buteo toes.
> Second, the breast streaking is in the form of the classic extended tear
> drop, so typical of juvenile Cooper's Hawks.
> Sharp-shins have wider "paint-brush" breast markings, often overlaid in
> "chains" of feathers. The toes are also thinner in Sharpies and the eye is
> larger in proportion to the head.
> There is also an adventitious adult Cooper's Hawk feather located in the
> birds left flank.
> Finally, although the tail feathers look a bit like SSHA, I think the
> foreshortening is also compressing the outer tips, which are much shorter
> in COHAs than SSHAs.
> Are there any more photos available of this bird?
> Bud Anderson
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