Thursday, January 22, 2009

A not uncommon visitor to Central Park

A Cooper's Hawk photographed west of The Great Lawn, 1/18/09
Photo by Murray Head.

Note: Cooper's Hawks and their only slightly smaller relatives, Sharp-shinned Hawks, are not unusual winter visitors to Central Park. BUT...while great numbers of Broad-winged Hawks may be seen flying high overhead during their migration to Central and South America, usually in September, one has never been seen perched in the park in January!

As John Blakeman wrote in clarification:
The photographed hawk is not a Broad-winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus. Those birds are all now down in South America.
The depicted bird is a common Cooper's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii. The tail of this bird is too long to be a Broad-winged, the dark bands in the tail are too numerous and too narrow to be a Broad-winged, and Broad-wings don't have reddish eyes. The feet of the bird are thin and narrow, a trait of the accipiter hawks, not buteos.