Sharp-shinned Hawk eating a starling!

Alex LamoreauxBird Sightings, General News and Info, photo study, Photography3 Comments

This morning while scouting out a region of the State College CBC, Anna and I stopped to watch as two Sharp-shinned Hawks (an adult and a juvenile) and one Cooper’s Hawk (an adult) chased around a huge flock of European Starlings. A little while later, as we were passing back by the same area, we spotted the adult Sharp-shinned Hawk sitting on the ground feeding on a dead juvenile starling. The sharpie was totally focused on eating its kill, allowing multiple cars to drive right up alongside of it, and never flew away – this offered Anna and I a great chance to photograph the bird at close range as it was feeding. The navy-blue coloration on the top of the bird’s head that contrasts with the color on the rest of the bird’s back as well as the very orange cheeks make this bird a female. Not to mention the size of this individual (female accipiters are larger than males). The bird can be aged based on its plumage coloration and also it’s beautiful blood-red eyes, which would be orange-ish if it were a subadult, or yellow if it were a juvenile. Below are some photos that Anna and I took of the bird.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult female feeding on a dead European Starling (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult female feeding on a dead European Starling (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult female feeding on a dead European Starling (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult female feeding on a dead European Starling (Photo by Anna Fasoli)

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult female feeding on a dead European Starling (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Sharp-shinned Hawk - adult female perched on a fence after finishing her starling meal (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)