Hi, Mom!

i-717d70581118215cee135ee2f56bf332-DSCN0336.jpgIt’s another cold, snowy day in Michigan, and while I was busy stamping out disease, PalMom was looking out her window at the snow. Perching on a branch was this beauty, which I believe to be a red-tailed hawk. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

i-d9e2e5cef17eb7e6f31c4699c88e5893-DSCN0337.jpgThis raptor is no dummy. There’s a bird feeder a few yards away, which, in addition to attracting the LBJs, also brings the little mammals.

i-22d03b3632ac9af14b27ab1b478ec176-DSCN0339.jpgApparently the LBJs aren’t too stupid either. There were none at the feeder while brother hawk was there, but according to PalDad, the hawk is now gone, and the birds have returned to their feast.


  1. Sorry, not a Red-tailed Hawk. Based on the white undertail coverts, I would say Cooper’s Hawk. However, identification in the field is difficult owing to similarity with smaller Sharp-shinned Hawk. Cooper’s Hawks have a rounder tail but this is not apparent in your pictures. Anyway, great observation!

  2. Thanks!

  3. You can see what PalMom does on snowy days in Michigan. I have never seen such a large bird just “hanging out”. I wish I could have seen it take flight. Thanks for your input.

  4. indeed, this is an adult cooper’s hawk.

    alas, you’ve cut the tail off in the image but the bright red eye, dark “cap”, comparatively large head, “barrel chest”, and the chest stripes that progressively fade into fluffy white lower belly plumage — these all identify this as a cooper’s hawk (as compared to the generally smaller sharp-shinned hawk).

    cooper’s hawks enjoy hanging around bird feeders, taking advantage of unwary birds. they also are rather like our hollywood-ized idea of velociraptors since they are happy to run after their prey through bushes and whatnot.

  5. I’m pretty sure this is a cooper’s, but sharpies also love feeders. In fact, some migration of sharpies has been curtailed due to the prevalence of feeders across the north…

  6. You don’t need to see the tail to id that beauty. With that flat head, that is an adult Cooper’s hawk. Nice shot.

  7. On the flip side of identification from your folks above who declare this bird a Cooper’s hawk, I’ve gotten lots of good close-up looks at red-tailed hawks here in Georgia – and this handsome bird ain’t a red-tailed hawk. Red tails have a slimmer profile and more rounded head.

  8. Lovely pictures, PalMD. My compliments to your mother for taking.

  9. -taking them, I meant to say. I cut off a word there.

    Hm. My impression of hawks was that they were slimmer than that. Is it puffed up to insulate against the winter cold?

  10. I saw a cooper’s hawk grab a sparrow in mid-air near the bird feeder. Have also seen a northern harrier smack down a dove.

    Raptors are impressive.

  11. Wouldn’t the pretty birdie be more likely a “she” at that size?

  12. Sari Everna

    We’ve always called them LBBs; little brown birds, rather than LBJs. Alternately, there’s my dad’s “french fry birds”, for the little ones that will beg for your french fries, though I suppose those are more like the city-dwelling equivalent.

    But what a pretty bird to have in your backyard! We had a Snowy Owl drop in once. It was probably the biggest bird we’ve ever had in our yard, since the population is 90% chickadee!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *