[CT Birds] Sharpie vs Coop: grey tone distinction?

Joe Cala joejr14 at aol.com
Sun Mar 23 19:47:59 EDT 2014


I participate in quite a few ID forums (facebook, whatbird, etc) and our most requested ID's are female Red-winged Blackbirds and Sharp-shinned v. Cooper's.  I've also spent a lot of time harass Jerry Liguori via email discussing published field marks, field marks that aren't published (since they're not 100% reliable, like eye color, throat streakiness, etc) and have probably sent 100+ photos to him for ID help and/or discussion.

I say the above because I used to be absolutely terrible at Accips.  I made it a point a few months ago to spend time fixing that--hence the emails to Jerry and focusing on sending test shots with my ID points.  

The bird was an obvious Coop to me driving home today from Milford Point on my cell, but I wasn't about to attempt to type up a detailed post while driving.  Nailing the ID's comes with experience of viewing pics or being in the field--reviewing field guides only does so much.

I mention all of that because it's entirely possibly that Crystal has been mis-ID'ing her rehab birds?  There's significant overlap between female Sharpies and male Coops and quite honestly I'd expect someone with significant 'in hand' experience to be able to ID an obvious Cooper's hawk from your photos.  

Finally--just another perfect example of why you don't attempt to separate Cooper's and Sharp-shinned with a single (unreliable at best?) field mark. Focusing on the darker back while ignoring the big head, very pale nape, and long tail--leads to the wrong ID.  

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