Merlin?

This small Hawk landed on an old woodstove door in my backyard yesterday morning. 8.27.12. I am guessing Merlin because of the black eye. The pics are though a slider / screen door, so they are not great, one including woodstove for size comparrison and one crop for detail. The Merlin is probably startng migration through my area right about now, Northern NJ. Thanks for your help!

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5 responses to “Merlin?

  1. (subscribing)

  2. Uh, I don’t think this is a Merlin. Perhaps a Cooper’s Hawk?

  3. yeah dalo, maybe not a Merlin, but I think it looks way to small to me to be a Cooper. maybe Sharpie??? Too hard for me to tell lol!

  4. A juvenile Sharpie does seem to be right given the size and especially the length of the tail, but the size of the beak bothers me a bit because it looks more like a Buteo’s (maybe a Broad-Winged Hawk?).

  5. Most definitely a Sharp-shinned Hawk. I find it is very easy to slip up in the field and call a Sharpie a Merlin, especially with in the east with the Taiga Merlin. Both have dark backs and yellow legs, plus similar sizes doing nothing to help the problem. What tells me it is a Sharp-shinned is are the featherless stick-like legs and perfectly square tail feathers. It is also a juvenile which might add to the confusion. The different color of the nape feathers, streaked belly, and white on tips of the scapulars are traits of juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawks. With no reference to size in picture I would say it was not a Cooper’s Hawk because it is not raising its hackles which is a common habit of perched Coops’ and the tail feathers are not rounded. Hope this helped.