- One of the ways the sharp-shinned hawk is recognized in the field is by its small size, about 30 centimetres (12 inches)
- Sharp-shinned hawks have a notched or square tail, and rust-coloured, barred under parts.
- The back and crown are a dark slate grey, and four dark bands stripe the tail.
- The range includes most of North America and northern South America.
- Sharp-shinned hawks breed in an area extending from northern Alaska south to California.
- Winters are spent south of Canada. In Alberta this species is usually found in the Rocky Mountain, foothill, boreal forest
and parkland natural regions.
- During hunting flights it flies low over trees in search of prey. Small birds and insects constitute the bulk of its diet.
- Nests are generally a flat platform of twigs lined with bark.
- Four to five eggs are laid.
The sharp-shinned hawk is classified as Secure in the General Status of Alberta Wild Species report:
Like all raptors in Alberta, the sharp-shinned hawk is protected by the provincial Wildlife Act and classified
as a non-game species.
The sharp-shinned hawk may be confused with a young Cooper's hawk, but the sharp-shinned hawk has rounded wings and lacks
the toothed beak.
The sharp-shinned hawk can resemble a merlin, but the sharp-shinned hawk has a squared tail.
Like most accipiters, the sharp-shinned hawk seldom soars, except during migration.
Posted: Oct 16, 2009