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Sharp-shinned Hawk

Accipiter striatus


A tiny hawk that appears in a blur of motion—and often disappears in a flurry of feathers. That’s the Sharp-shinned Hawk, the smallest hawk in North America and a daring, acrobatic flier. These raptors have distinctive proportions: long legs, short wings, and very long tails, which they use for navigating their deep-woods homes at top speed in pursuit of songbirds and mice. They’re easiest to spot in fall on their southward migration, or occasionally at winter feeders.


As I was walking along a trail, many feeder birds appeared in front of me, which I then kicked up a bit, chattering as I passed by. Then, out of nowhere, this juvenile Sharp-shinned hawk jetted past my left side not more than five feet away from me in an attempt to grab a bird. He missed but then perched right in from of me, looked at me for a while, then flew away. While I have seen many hunting attempts on feeder birds, I still have yet to see a successful one! I think it's a large female because of its enormous size for a sharp-shinned.

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Josh Asel
Josh Asel 7 years ago

Thank you Beaker98! Yeah they really are.

beaker98 7 years ago

Very nice series! Beautiful birds.

Josh Asel
Josh Asel 7 years ago

Thank you Kathleen! They are, aren't they. Whenever I'm walking through my orchard and I hear of a chain reaction of birds chirping their brains out, I know there's one of these or a Cooper's swooping through for a meal :)

Nice series Joshua! I have these visit my garden from time to time, depending on how many small birds are there! Great, fast hunters.

Josh Asel
Spotted by
Josh Asel

California, USA

Spotted on Jan 21, 2014
Submitted on Jan 31, 2014

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