For the hawk fans out there

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sommrluv, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

    Jul 17, 2009
    Bucks County, PA
    I have a question.

    I'm honestly not a hawk fan, but I'm wildly curious. This morning while we're in the kitchen, I look out the window, and this large gray bird swoops down and perches on top of one of our lattices. I stand perfectly still and watch him, it looked at first to me like an enormously overgrown pigeon, but he's literally 3 feet from me, and I can see his feet, his yellow/black vicious looking beak, and a banded tail. He watched me intently and than took off when I tried to get DH over.

    We have a bunch of feeders out right now as there's snow on the grown, and we also have a very long privet hedge with probably thousands of finches in it. My chickens are in a predator proof run, so I'm not worried, but I'm just curious what type of hawk it is.

    The pictures of the gray hawk are pretty identical to it. But supposedly that's a tropical bird and I'm in NE PA. I did find sightings online in western pa and utah. Anyone have any idea what type of hawk it is or if it's common to see them so far north?

    I live in a rural-ish area with a lot of farmland and state parks around, but I'm also pretty close to dense suburbs.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  2. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

    Jul 17, 2009
    Bucks County, PA
  3. BitsyB

    BitsyB Chirping

    Aug 30, 2010
    Northern Delaware
    Can you post a picture?

    I'm not too far from you, the most common hawks around here are Red Tail, Sharp Shinned, and Cooper's Hawk (aka "Chicken Hawk", but I've read that chickens are not a large part of their diet).

    But you may have one that's less common for your area- in winter I think some hawks range farther to search for food, and sometimes young birds can get off track during migration.

    If you posted on line on a bird club's website that you have an unusual bird in your yard, you'd have bird watching people coming over to try to see it! Those birders can be crazy (no offense to any birders out there).
  4. sommrluv

    sommrluv Songster

    Jul 17, 2009
    Bucks County, PA
    Definitely not looking for eager bird watchers on my front door step! LOL

    I didn't have my camera...I froze when I saw it and I haven't seen it since, but our birdfeeders have been deserted for hours. Poor birds, between our terriers, the local cat population, and all the hawks, I doubt they have a chance! LOL

    We're a couple blocks from a very big park with a lake that's about 5300 acres, so we see a LOT of hawks and eagles. I saw my first kettle the other day when I was out free-ranging the birds. Something like 50 hawks...made me want to run & hide.
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Check out a picture of a male Cooper's hawk.
  6. birdicus7

    birdicus7 Chirping

    Jul 17, 2010
    Coatesville, PA
    It sounds to me like a Kestrel. I have them here a lot. I just lost a bird to a hawk yesterday. You can see the attack in the snow so there's no doubt. Ate half of my RIR hen and was back this morning looking for breakfast. Needless to say the birds are on lockdown!
  7. AlbionWood

    AlbionWood Songster

    May 24, 2010
    Albion, California
    Almost undoubtedly a Cooper's Hawk from your description. Other possibilities are Sharp-Shinned, which are nearly identical but smaller; and Goshawk, which are quite rare and MUCH larger. Peregrine is extremely unlikely, they don't hunt around houses like that. (They all look huge when they are only 3 feet away!)
  8. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    oh believe me, Coopers hawks kill chickens... neighbor has lost 6 and I lost one today.
  9. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Sounds to me like a Merlin (aka pigeon hawk), especially if it is gray and pigeon-sized. Either a Cooper or a Sharp-Shin would show a pinkish breast if a male or be brownish if female. Merlin's love to hang around bird feeders and pick off unsuspecting songbirds. Seeing one up close they always look bigger than they're supposed to be especially if it has it's feathers fluffed out to keep warm. I found a mess of chickadee feathers strewn around here yesterday so expect we have a like visitor too.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011

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