Imagine my surprise when I looked out of the back door and saw an accipter yesterday! That's a member of the Acciptridae family which are birds of prey like hawks. Don't worry I didn't know that either until now. I looked into what kind of hawk-falcon this bird was and finally settled on a Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus) after comparing it with Cooper's Hawks and Kestrels. I'm not an ornithologist and if this hawk is something else please let me know but it matches all descriptions I can find of a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk. It lighted on a maple tree just outside of our vegetable garden.
I took quite a few pictures but none of them are of any great quality as I was shooting through a window and it was a cloudy day with poor light conditions. It was pretty neat to see but it's kind of a mixed blessing. Sharp-shinned hawks favorite prey is small birds and we do like to feed the birds... Of course they also feed on small animals which would be great if they would devour the field mice and voles but that will only happen after the chickadees and tit-mice become scarce.
According to what I've read at Cornell's Lab of Ornithology Sharp-shinned hawks have decided that backyard bird feeders are the place to be. Apparently I'm not only feeding the chickadees, cardinals, and finches!
Labels: birds, wildlife