Four possibilities for the rest of your West Seattle Wednesday

(Photo by Mark Dale)

From the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

COWORKING/HOME WORKING/SOLOPRENEUR/ETC. MEETUP: Bring your lunch and take an inspirational break from the solo grind at this weekly West Seattle Office Junction (WSB sponsor) meetup, starting at noon. (6040 California SW)

SCHOOL BOARD: 4:15 pm meeting, 5 pm public comment, 6 pm votes, items of interest previewed here earlier this morning. The meeting is at Seattle Public Schools‘ SODO headquarters. (3rd & Lander)

SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: Reps from western West Seattle’s community councils and other major organizations meet at 6:30 pm at the Sisson Building (home of the Senior Center of West Seattle). Agenda includes the Terminal 5 Environmental Impact Statement process, Emergency Communication Hubs, and SWDC officer elections. (SW Oregon and California SW)

LIVE MUSIC: 7 pm, C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) is where you’ll find Jim Page. (5612 California SW)

11 Replies to "Four possibilities for the rest of your West Seattle Wednesday"

  • Bird on It November 4, 2015 (10:52 am)

    Beautiful bird.

    Name That Species. How do you know?

    Game On.

  • Jen November 4, 2015 (11:14 am)

    Sharp-shinned Hawk, I think.

  • RPH November 4, 2015 (11:45 am)

    or Cooper’s Hawk, very similar

  • Silly Goose November 4, 2015 (12:59 pm)

    I thought this guy was a peregrine falcon! What ever it is we have one that hangs out in our back yard by the water feature to prey on smaller tweeties, it is a fantastic show…sorry but it really is!

  • Shelly November 4, 2015 (1:52 pm)

    It’s probably a Coopers Hawk that’s eating your little Tweeties. But this photo is not a Coopers Hawk!

  • Toni Reineke November 4, 2015 (2:38 pm)

    Spectacular photo. Thank you, Mark Dale!

  • Katherine November 4, 2015 (4:38 pm)

    Sharp-shinned hawk. The red eye and blue-grey feathers.

  • Bird on it November 4, 2015 (5:37 pm)

    Katherine is the ONLY person who most closely followed the directions.

    Do not say a species without explaining why you said so. Meaning, not only what are the characteristics you use to identify that species, but why are they relevant. Meaning, compare and contrast it to other species if you need to. It is the easiest way to tell the differences. Provide links if you want to but point out what is in the link that is relevant and why.

    School’s in session birders. Let’s teach each other.

  • Mark D November 4, 2015 (7:08 pm)

    I’m leaning toward’s an adult (because of the red-orange eyes and adult plumage) Sharp-shinned hawk, as opposed to the almost identical Cooper’s hawk. According to Sibley’s guide, the Sharp-shinned is smaller (L 11″ ) than a Cooper’s (L 16.5″) and this seemed like a smaller bird to me. In addition it seems to have a square-ish tail, with a narrow white tip, 2 other identifying factors. To be honest I’ve never been certain about telling the two apart.

  • BluHorizon November 5, 2015 (12:23 am)

    Mark D – good for you! Not being certain about telling the two apart is standard fare for most – unless one has spent a great deal of time studying these birds in the field. It IS often a little easier in person, and can be especially problematic with a single photo. Having at least 3 diff photo views can help. Notice that even Cornell bird ID keys for them use the phrase “tend to” a great deal as well as “notoriously difficult” to ID, because no single field mark stands out to help bird watchers easily tell one from the other.

    It used to be that if you saw the bird in an urban area – very likely a Cooper’s. “Sharpies” prefer forested areas. However, due to loss of habitat, as well as fact we have lots of wooded areas in Seattle, greater chance of seeing Sharpies in the burbs in recent years.

    Here are some ID keys. The problem is with these 2 species, is that almost all the key factors are either variable or have exceptions such as young or first year birds etc.

    1. SIZE – This is definitive factor. However, not terribly helpful with single bird. Generally Cooper’s is larger. However, a small Cooper’s (male) can be very close in size to large Sharp-shinned (female) – as well as tricky sizes of immatures, adolescents or a bird with feathers fluffed vs. feathers flat.

    2. HEAD size, shape and proportion. – hard to tell about this unless you have them side by side or a trained eye.

    3. HEAD pattern – dark “cap” vs. “hood”

    4. EYE placement and size. Again – side by side comparison really helps.

    5. Size of LEGS. Cooper’s are quite a bit thicker. S-shinned legs much thinner. In this photo – legs look tucked under feathers.

    6. TAIL – Sharp-shinned long tail;
    outer tail feathers usually the longest. Squarish vs. roundish. Cooper’s middle t-feathers usually longest. Both have lateral dark tail feather bands with light tips. Both can also hold their tail feathers together or apart, and at angles that can create a misleading determination of shape.

    7. CHEST pattern and coloring. Can be very distinctive between the two. However, when birds are immature and / or molting – can also be confusing.

    8. THROAT pattern and throat size. Distinctive when side by side, but much harder when just one bird. In this photo – throat is mostly obscured.

    9. BODY type: Cooper’s: Thick body and broad
    chest– lower center of gravity than Sharp-shinned
    with narrower hips and higher ctr of gravity.

    10. Both have red eyes as adults and immatures are yellow-eyed.

    11. Chest pattern and coloring can be very different – or very similar. Lots of factors. Often the S-Shinned will have more darker markings on lower breast and belly – Cooper’s will be lighter in those areas.

    12. “pale stripe above eye” – a good marker, but depending on light – the eye ridge itself can closely emulate this.

  • sam-c November 5, 2015 (7:51 am)

    I love all the birding knowledge shared here on WSB. Thanks!

Sorry, comment time is over.