Sharp-shinned hawk

Mike Stafford

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2,438
Location
Coastal plain of North Carolina
I was washing dishes and a movement outside caught my attention. There was a hawk sitting on a limb in my neighbor's shrubbery about 12 feet away with a bird in its mouth. I did not recognize the species of hawk but it was obviously a bird of prey as evidenced by its talons and curved beak. It proceeded to tear apart the little bird and consume it.

I tried to take a picture through the window but the glare on the glass made that impossible. When I opened the door from the kitchen to the deck it took off.

I was able to get a good look at this bird and Googled hawks in N.C. as I went down the list I saw this bird. It was the spitting image of the bird sitting on the limb. The article said it was a Sharp-shinned hawk and did not breed in N.C. but was a migratory visitor. It also said it fed on small birds and mammals. The article said they grew as large as 13 inches. The bird I saw looked to be about that size.

Never heard of a sharp-shinned hawk and I don't believe I have ever seen one unless I did not recognize it as a hawk when I did. The article said they were quite secretive. The bird had striped tail feathers which are typical of the species.

I wish I had been able to get a picture. We have had other bird eating hawks in our neighborhood. Several times we have had the aftermath of a hawk feeding on a bird in the midst of our backyard.

Always great to see something you have never seen before.

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Pretty bird. Have had birds of pray around but never caught one feeding. Neighbor had chickens in back yard and they slowly disappeared but no evidence what got them. He didn't start another flock.
David
 
Very cool. :thumb: We get sharp-shinned hawks dropping by our yard from time to time to visit our bird feeders, which I'm sure they see as a meat market.
 
We pretty much get them all at one time or another during the year: Coopers, Harris, Sharp-Shinned, Red-tailed, Kestral, Osprey, and Bald Eagle.
We had nests of Coopers in the back yard for several years. Sure kept the chipmunk population down! All the hawks cruise through the bird feeders fairly regularly. They're only successful about one time in twenty or so, though.
We also get three types of owls pretty regularly - Screech, Barn, and Great Horned. They get the moles, voles, and flying squirrels.
 
I don't think I've ever seen a Harris hawk. LOML reminded me that we primarily see Cooper's hawk and Sharp-Shinned hawks here, with an occasional Kestrel. And like Mike mentioned, we occasionally see "feather bombs" in the back yard where one of them nails a dove or other smaller bird. In LA, we mostly saw Red-Tailed hawks in the tall pines in our back yard. I remember watching one on a high branch devouring a squirrel one afternoon.

This is Amazon, our resident avian carnivore, at the kitchen window watching me wash dishes.

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The most common hawk in my area is the red-tailed hawk. I have seen them feeding along the golf course on several occasions and I have seen the "feather bombs" (wonderful description) in our backyard. I think they are feeding most commonly on brown thrushes.

My wife cheers whenever she sees the remains of a brown thrush. I have to admit the little devils get what they deserve. I bet about now some of you are asking what does Mike and his wife have against brown thrushes? Well, let me say this about that. Brown thrushes like to remove mulch from our flower and shrubbery beds so they can better see grubs, worms and whatever else there is to eat under the mulch. The little rascals will grab a beak full of mulch and throw it over their shoulder right onto our perfectly manicured lawn :LOL:. They will remove a band about 5-6 inches wide all the way down to the bare earth and leave a band of mulch paralleling the bed on the grass. They would be comical to watch if you didn't have to go out and rake off a couple of hundred feet of mulch from the lawn into the beds.

I would imagine a brown thrush is too large for a sharp-shinned hawk. Just guessing...
 
Red tailed hawks here also. They will sit on tree branches and fence posts while I mow, rake and bale hay. Then they look really regal standing on top of the round bales watching for mice in the newly mown field.
 
I don't think I've ever seen a Harris hawk. LOML reminded me that we primarily see Cooper's hawk and Sharp-Shinned hawks here, with an occasional Kestrel. And like Mike mentioned, we occasionally see "feather bombs" in the back yard where one of them nails a dove or other smaller bird. In LA, we mostly saw Red-Tailed hawks in the tall pines in our back yard. I remember watching one on a high branch devouring a squirrel one afternoon.

This is Amazon, our resident avian carnivore, at the kitchen window watching me wash dishes.

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I am surprised that the cat on the table is not interested.
 
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