Thursday, April 14, 2011

Urban raptors

Every so often I will just drive around in my neighborhood and see/hear what is around. Had my window down - what a great last few days! - and heard some raucous crow calling. Realized the source of their concern - a Cooper's hawk had just pegged a pigeon in a yard. Talk about an urban raptor - the mailman would have to actually step AROUND the bird to deliver the mail. How to tell it's a Coops (instead of a Shin?) Couple of things - check out that very dark greay "cap" that is more easily seen on a Coops. Also check out that flat head - you could set a coffee cup on it. Shins' heads are more rounded - like a pinhead (but don't tell them I said that.) Check out the moult pattern - some of the primaries are going to be moulted (the ones there now are very brown and worn) and the tail feathers are in various stages of moulting in for the season.

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