Bird-watching is not a hobby I've been tempted to pursue, at least not in the sense of keeping a life-list and going places specifically with species-spotting in mind. I don't even put out a bird feeder, knowing that it would be completely monopolized by pigeons and squirrels.
But I do try to keep my eyes open for interesting birds around here (witness previous posts on pigeons, flickers, hummingbirds and more).
So I was excited when I opened the back door this morning to let Sophie out, and this hawk flew from the ground up to the fence, then waited at least long enough for me to grab my camera.
I'll confess: at first I thought it was a peregrine falcon (we do have those around here, I know) but the head markings were wrong. Then I started looking at raptor ID websites and got more discouraged that I couldn't find anything just like this one. Golly, maybe it's not a raptor at all? Maybe it's just a mutant pigeon?
Happily, I found WhatBird.com and was able to get an answer within minutes that it is indeed a hawk of the Accipiter variety, either a Cooper's hawk or sharp-shinned hawk. It would appear the two are quite similar.
I'm just happy to know I wasn't crazy! And to see a hawk hangin' in the 'hood. Eat more pigeons, Mr. Hawk!