Sharp-shinned Hawk-Accipiter striatus
Description: 10″-14″ ( 25-36 cm) This jay sized hawk has a long, narrow tail with a square tip and short rounded wings. Adults are slate gray above and pale below with fine rust-colored barring. Immature shows brown above with whitish spots. Creamy below with streaks on breast and barring on the flanks.
Voice: Sharp kik-kik-kik-kik Also a shrill squeal.
Habitat: Breeds in dense coniferous forests, less often in deciduous forests. During migration and Winter they can be seen in almost any habitat.
Nesting: 4 to 5 whitish eggs, marked with brown in a shallow platform of twigs concealed in a conifer.
FYI’s: It’s the smallest and most numerous of the Accipiters. It feeds mainly on birds which it catches with swift, sudden attacks. It’s rounded wings and long narrow tail enables the hawk to pursue birds through woods, making sharp turns to avoid branches.
It’s number are decreasing in the East, which could be caused by the decline of it’s prey species.
The Northward migration of Sharp-shinned Hawks begin with the favorable winds of late February, and they become more widely distributed by March 10th through the 20th.
Be careful when identifying Sharp-shinned Hawks in the field. Generally Cooper’s Hawk are the larger of the two, but remember that a female Sharp-shinned Hawk is about the same size as a male Cooper’s Hawk. It’s been said that a “Sharpie” looks like a flying mallet, and a Cooper’s Hawk looks like a flying cross.
Resource material provided by:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/ http://www.allaboutbirds.com
The Birds of Ohio by Bruce G. Peterjohn