Sharp Shinned Hawk – Medford, MA


This large juvenile ‘Sharpie’ is dining on a mockingbird in suburban Boston.  Easily confused with juvenile Cooper’s Hawks, young Sharp Shinned Hawks tend to be slightly smaller and have less feather coverage on their legs.  Their breasts are streaked with brown spots and lines, unlike the Coopers mostly white lower breast area.

Both species feed exclusively on other birds, ambushing them in the air or at bird feeders.  Sharpies will usually take their dinner up to a branch to pluck and eat it, except in winter when they don’t seem to mind enjoying their meal on the ground.

This bird was a remarkably efficient eater.  When he flew away, all that remained of the prey were a beak and gizzard.

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