Sharp-shinned Hawk

A sharp-shinned hawk launches to go after prey – Towson University, Maryland on February 18, 2015

I had some extra time between my classes this morning and took my camera for a walk through the Glen, a wooded area on the Towson University campus.

I spotted what I think is a sharp-shinned hawk chasing after a few robins, he was unsuccessful and I watched him land in a tree, so I took a favorable position and waited.

He was intently watching small flights of pigeons pass, and I didn’t think it would be long until he took flight again.

I caught him launching to go after another group of robins about 100 yards distant.

A sharp-shinned hawk on the upstroke of a wing beat in pursuit of prey – Towson University, Maryland on February 18, 2015

I fired the shutter quickly for the first two cycles of his wings, but had trouble keeping him in the frame.

I came away with a one good shot of him at the top of an upstroke. I halfheartedly tried to maintain focus as he put some distance between us, and lowered the camera to watch his pass on the robins.

He missed and flew back at me, before turning to fly toward the main part of campus; I put my camera back in my bag and headed to my next class.

As I neared the cluster of buildings he vanished over, I heard the urgent cawing of crows and saw the little hawk fly past with four crows after him, he didn’t seem to be having much luck finding his breakfast.

A sharp-shinned hawk awaits prey – Towson University, Maryland on February 18, 2015

A word on the identification as a sharp-shinned hawk, there is a small chance that this is actually a juvenile cooper’s hawk, but I’m going to call it a sharp-shinned hawk.

If an experienced birder happens to read this, please give us your opinion on the identification.