Juvenile Raptor Identification

Do you like a birding challenge? This beautiful raptor visited my southeast Calgary yard late in November. I thought I would post these pictures without identifying the species, to give you a chance to test your raptor identification skills. Leave us a comment below, and tell us what you think it is.

This bird isn't injured, he's just wearing some of his lunch.

Posted by Pat Bumstead

10 thoughts on “Juvenile Raptor Identification

  1. Without something for scale, I’d say likely a Sharp-shinned Hawk, based on the straight tail bars, and it seems a tad big to be a Merlin. It looks awfully close to the Sharp-shinned Hawk I had in my yard back in March who I think may be stalking my feeders again this winter, but with adult plumage now…

    I couldn’t help but notice the blood on the chest. I’m hoping it’s from a recent kill rather than an injury.

  2. Oh, and the wing-tips in relation to the length of the tail. I knew I was missing something in my ID criteria. Merlin wing-tips would be closer to the end of the tail, whereas Sharp-shinned Hawks wing-tips end just posterior to the hips.

  3. Pat: I think it’s a juvenile Northern Goshawk, though I haven’t been able to rule out Cooper’s Hawk.. Nice bird either way, but I hope he doesn’t finish off your yard specialties like Common Grackle and Mourning Dove, before the Christmas Count on Sunday!

  4. Pat: I would say a Cooper’s Hawk. It might have been the same one I had over my way as I live only a few block’s away

    from you. Great pictures and a nice looking bird what ever kind it is.

  5. Pingback: Another Sharp-shinned Hawk | Birds Calgary

  6. It’s either a cooper’s hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk. hard to tell from the picture. If it has skinny legs and feet, it’s a sharp-shinned.

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