The Hawks of Ginkgo Glen

One of the Ginkgo Glen hawks

One of our Ginkgo Glen Hawks

Have you seen our Ginkgo Glen hawks? Early morning is a good time to catch a glimpse of them. We have seen them perched on fences, flying down Adele Place, and wading in pools of run-off from irrigation systems. Barbie Tablak reports: " Yesterday (7/12/09) at about 5:00 pm Jeff and I went for our walk and when we got to the huge oak trees in front of Mary and Mike Gutierrez' house (NE corner of Adele and Georgetta) we saw FOUR hawks!! Mary says they live in her trees and there are 4 babies and two adults. They often eat up in her trees and she has witnessed them strike their prey and found many "leftovers" in her yard!"

Barbie Tablak and Don Falkenburg have done some web research and have identified our visitors as either Sharp-Shinned or Cooper's Hawks. These two species are very similar, and identification is often difficult even for professional birders. The following are quoted from the website of the Cornell University Ornithology Lab.

Sharp-Shinned Hawk

"A small hawk, the Sharp-shinned Hawk is a regular visitor to bird feeders, where it eats birds, not seed. The male and female show a greater disparity in size than any other American hawk; the female is nearly twice the weight of the male." The summer breeding region of the Sharp-shinned Hawk cuts a broad band across most of Canada, although there is a small region along the northern California coast in which this hawk is a year-round resident.

Cooper's Hawk

"Among the bird world’s most skillful flyers, Cooper’s Hawks are common woodland hawks that tear through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds. You’re most likely to see one prowling above a forest edge or field using just a few stiff wingbeats followed by a glide. With their smaller look alike, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawks make for famously tricky identifications." Cooper's Hawk is a year-round resident of all of California.

Differentiating the species

"Separating Sharp-shinned Hawks from Cooper's Hawks is one of the classic birding challenges. The birds look very similar and can be similarly sized. Cooper's Hawks have a larger head that juts farther out ahead of the wings compared with Sharp-shinned's pinhead. Cooper's have "hackles" that are sometimes raised, giving them a fierce look versus Sharp-shinned's more timid, round head. Adults have a pale nape, making them look like they're wearing a dark cap. Juvenile Cooper's Hawks are more finely streaked below than Sharp-shinned. When perched, look for Cooper's Hawk's thicker legs and big feet."

More on identifying the difference between Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks. This website has some very good photos adults and juveniles of both species.

Typical Voice

Sharp-Shinned Hawk.

Cooper's Hawk

So, get your cameras and your listening ears and help us identify our resident hawks.


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Last updated 8/5/18

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