Monday, November 22, 2010

Urban Wildlife

This morning I had an unusual encounter with Spokane's urban wildlife.

I was waiting in the Albertson's parking lot at Wandermere when a robin-sized bird dashed over my windshield, followed by a hawk. The smaller bird took refuge under the covered walkway of an adjacent strip mall, but to no avail. The hawk seized its prey and held it to the ground long enough for me to capture this one fleeting image. A moment later, the hawk returned to the sky, while the little bird still struggled for life within the claws of its captor.

The whole scene happened too quickly for me to identify the smaller bird. And now as I review the photograph, I'm wondering exactly which species of hawk this is. I can't be sure, but it seemed much smaller than a red-tail hawk. Does anyone know?


Anonymous said...

The picture is a little grainy but it might be a Peregrine Falcon. They nest in the downtown Spokane area. I believe they were re-introduced to the area several years back.

T.R. said...

It's most likely a Cooper's or Sharp-Shinned Hawk - they are nearly identical cousins - not sure which one it is. Both are adapted to an urban environment and their main prey is songbirds or yard birds. They are a common backyard bird and prey on birds at the feeder. Both live year round in your area. They are adept at flying through trees to capture their prey.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

TR - The tail of this bird doesn't seem to match the tail of the cooper's hawk or the sharp-shinned hawk. The two hawks you mention have tails that alternate between two dark tones, while this bird has a dark tail with light stripes. What do you think?

Dave Hage said...

did you ever figure this out? I agree that it looks like a peregrine, but I'm wondering what its breast looked like. thanks for the story!


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