I got a few emails this week regarding Sharp-shinned Hawk vs. Cooper’s Hawk, with photos to review. Of course, this is an ongoing ID issue since the two species look so darn similar. ALL of the birds in this composite are Cooper’s Hawks! Some look small headed, some look square tailed, others look stocky overall, etc. and that is why Cooper’s Hawks (especially adult males) are sometimes identified as Sharp-shinned Hawks and always will be!!!! I’ll do another post of Sharp-shinned Hawks that look like Cooper’s just so all of us are confused and questioning everything we ever knew once again. My main point here is, be careful and cautious when identifying photos…it can be tricky, since any single photo can be misleading. Good thing I have multiple images of all of these birds to reference, which is helpful. Check out how many of these Cooper’s Hawks look Sharp-shinned-like. Hope this helps!
This post was written by Jerry Liguori. You can read more about Jerry and his legacy at HawkWatch International here.