Monday, January 30, 2012

An Unusual Back Yard Visitor In Carroll Gardens

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My friend Joe was a bit startled to find a this large bird of prey in his Carroll Gardens backyard over the week-end.  The raptor was perched on an old clothesline pole, snacking on a bloody carcass.
Joe thinks it was a Peregrine Falcon.  To me it looks more like a hawk.  Any experts out there who can identify it?


**Reader and friend Phyllis was kind enough to forward the photos to bird expert Bob Candido, who replied:
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperi) - feed primarily on small birds in our area.
This photo shows a juvenile (first winter) female.
These hawks occasionally breed in NYC. They have bred in the Bronx and Staten Island in the last 10 years...they are very common winter residents in NYC - frequently seen in backyards where they like to catch birds at bird feeders...

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

i took almost the exact same photos of a similar bird in my back yard (near summit and hicks st) a few months ago! It might be the same bird. He was perched on a clothes line pole eating something just like he is doing here.

I am no bird expert but I think red tailed hawk?

hope he sticks around and continues to feast on mice and rats.

Anonymous said...

Post it to the Cornell Ornithology Lab's Facebook Page.

(I hope he has a rat, or mouse, and not another bird!)

Katia said...

Great idea. Just posted a photo on their Facebook page. I'll see if anyone can identify and will post the answer.

Anonymous said...

Please post back if you find out - we've had a similar hawk in our backyard twice in the last 2 months (we're in Gowanus). Once it swooped down and grabbed a mouse while my husband was in the yard - scared the crap out of him!

Katia said...

That would have freaked me out, even if it meant one less mouse/rat in the neighborhood.

Cait said...

So happy to see birds of prey in our neighborhood. We live on Union street near Smith and have enjoyed watching the American Kestrels from our window...they even had babies last summer. My best guess for the hawk above is a Cooper's Hawk as a Red Tail is much bigger (and has more of an auburn coloring)

Katia said...

Hi Cait, someone from Cornell Ornithology Lab's Facebook page also just identified it as a Cooper's Hawk.
No identification on that bloody snack yet.

Anonymous said...

i took photos and video of a very similar bird in my backyard near hicks and woodhull last year around this time. it was eating some lunch.

Eric said...

I also took pictures of this bird eating another bird in my backyard on degraw and 5th.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this or another similar bird of prey on my deck in CG about a year ago also!

Anonymous said...

Adding to the sitings. It (or a cousin) feasted on pigeons in our backyard (court/union) twice a couple weeks ago. I just did a quick online look. I think it's a broad-winged hawk.

http://tinyurl.com/7ut6y2y

Anonymous said...

It's definitely a Cooper's hawk. There is one hanging around my nabe in Bay Ridge. I think he might be attracted by the large rooftop pigeon coop in the next block. There are so many pigeons to eat around here that I think that hawk sometimes likes to chase the pigeons just for the fun of it.

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I took a picture of this bird in my backyard at Pacific and Hoyt (or has this species colonized Brooklyn?), and sent it to an ornithologist who identified it as a Cooper's, likely a female. I included the expert's comments regarding a Cooper's hunting habits below. We have a bird feeder that attracts small birds, and I see the hawk hunting in our backyard all the time. The photos that this person took are great.

"If you watch it enough you will probably see it take prey, usually smaller birds. I watched a Cooper’s Hawk take a pigeon out of my back yard just last week. It was a little sad because my husband had been feeding the pigeon for a few days (it was a racing pigeon blown off course) but still cool to see."

Anonymous said...

Wow. A Coopers Hawk. The Kestral nest on Union St was closed up by
The building's owner when they had their building re surfaced. I see them and hear them still but their favorite cornice perch is sealed up. morons.

Anonymous said...

I think this same bird was hanging out in our backyard on Carroll between Smith and Hoyt about 2 weeks ago. It was in a tall tree and a very aggressive squirrel kept attacking him but the hawk returned to the tree several times and finally the squirrel gave up. It was an amazing show!

Katia said...

That must have been one gutsy squirrel.

Anonymous said...

I thought so too at the time - our whole family was impressed and it happened enough times that we were able to pass the binoculars back and forth and let everyone get a good view of the attacks. But after reading a little about Cooper's hawks, it seems like they tend to take birds and leave squirrels alone - maybe that squirrel had already checked Google.

Katia said...

No doubt, on his small i-phone.
Brooklyn squirrels are so sophisticated.

Anonymous said...

We have had Cooper's hawks (or one) in our backyard at Clinton and DeGraw for several years now in the winter. He/she appears to come back every year.

Suzanne G said...

Per my very knowledgeable bird friend:
sharp shinned, coopers, and goshawk all same family. sharp shinned is a small bird with a rounded tip on the tail. Coopers is larger with square tail but using the clothesline post as scale, this bird is too big to be a coopers, though the tail and stripes on it are consistent. The goshawk is best match - tail, stripes on tail, and large size. Common to NY (state)