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A bird on a wire? Monday, September 29, 2008

Last week, while I was sitting at my desk and talking to my parents on the phone, a large hawk landed on the telephone pole about 150 feet away from my window. At first I thought it was a red-tail, or maybe an osprey, both of which are pretty common around here. But I knew that wasn't quite right.

It was still sitting there some 15 minutes later when I finished talking to my parents, so I got out the bird book.

It didn't take long to narrow the choices down to either a Cooper's Hawk or a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but even so, my eyesight wasn't good enough to positively identify it. So I put the 200 mm lens on my camera and took some pictures.

The book says that the two birds are pretty hard to distinguish in the field. Comparing my photos to the pictures and description in the book, though, I'm pretty certain that it was a Cooper's Hawk.

According to the book, its habitat is "mature forests, open woodlands, wood edges, [and] river groves," none of which describe my neighborhood, but a large tract of forest is only a mile away, so maybe that's close enough.