[CT Birds] Goshawk caution follow-up

joseph cala joseph.e.cala at gmail.com
Thu May 8 21:56:02 EDT 2014


Please bear with me while I add a few more thoughts now that I'm actually
in front of a computer and can type--instead of pecking away at a phone

I cannot stress enough how incredibly rare Goshawks are at backyard
feeders.  Shortly after Roy was kind enough to pass along my post I
received an email that had been passed along with someone looking for
confirmation on their Goshawk.

The bird in question was in fact a juvenile Cooper's Hawk, with a
substantial supercilium -- though it was rather buffy -- and had very thin
breast streaking.  Participating on several ID forums I understand how
confusing this field mark is as almost all of the field guides do a poor
job in showing how often Cooper's Hawk show a size-able whitish supercilium
-- in fact the 1st edition Sibley doesn't show it at all.

I caution everyone when attempting to use a noticeable white supercilium
when attempting to separate juvenile Cooper's and Goshawks.  There are many
other field marks that are easier to use--but in the case of all accipiter
ID's you're much safer using a cumulative field mark approach when IDing to
species--as opposed to relying on just one field mark.

I'd strongly suggest getting a 2nd opinion on any backyard feeder hawk that
you think may be a Goshawk before submitting to ebird or reporting as I'm
sure the sighting will be flagged and you'll be asked for more
information.  We have quite a few very knowledgeable hawk folks on this
list that I'm sure would be more than happy to take a look at any photos
for clarification purposes -- I know I certainly would!


More information about the CTBirds mailing list