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Sharpie vs Coop

Published September 17, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk

Today, while hiking through a local park, I saw a neat battle taking place in the sky overhead.

I clearly saw a Cooper's Hawk getting chased by a smaller raptor.  At first, I thought the little guy was  a falcon due to its diminutive size - perhaps a Merlin or an American Kestrel.  Once I got my bins on the bird, though, I realized it was a Sharp-shinned Hawk!  I think the sharpie must have been a male and the coop must have been a female. Female raptors are always (or most always) significantly larger than their male counterparts.

The foray lasted for quite awhile, the sharpie obviously not pleased with the presence of the coop. I imagine the Cooper's Hawk was just passing through and the Sharp-shinned claimed this as its territory.  Eventually, the coop was run out of town, so to speak, and the skies returned to the peaceful clear blue skies that the morning had started with.

I got off a few shots of the encounter and found the whole event a fascinating study of size, field marks, and behavior.
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Sharp-shinned Hawk dive bombs a Cooper's Hawk
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Sharp-shinned Hawk dive bombs a Cooper's Hawk
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Sharp-shinned Hawk dive bombs a Cooper's Hawk
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Sharp-shinned Hawk dive bombs a Cooper's Hawk
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Cooper's Hawk
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Cooper's Hawk