It's certainly unlikely, but not impossible, I wouldn't think, for a big
mama Sharpie. Mourning doves are the Cooper's favorite prey--
slow-moving ground-feeding birds. Sharpies take smaller birds on the
wing or on feeders. But the Sharpie could have made an unsuccessful
dive at the feeder, and taken the dove opportunistically when it flushed
and knocked itself out against the window.
Just be aware that the square tail thing can be very deceptive because
those distinctive white feathers tips of the Cooper wear down pretty
quickly after they get their spring plumage. (White feathers are weaker
than dark ones.)
I've found that what I have to look for isn't the overall straight or
curved look but those couple of tail feathers on both sides to see if
they're slightly shorter than the middle feathers. This can be hard to
see with a bird at rest because those shorter feathers can disappear
behind the longer ones when the tail is completely folded. There are
other good clues in the shape and coloring of the head and nape.
"The nape feathers on adult Cooper’s Hawks are lighter than the feathers
on the top of the head, giving the bird a capped appearance."
Or any site dealing with raptor ID will give you similar info.
That almost pink breast on the adults is gorgeous for sure.
On 1/1/2017 12:17 PM, Martha McClintock wrote:
> I had just been watching birds at the feeder from my kitchen window, 30
> mourning doves, 6 blue jays, 2 chickadees, 1 hairy and 1 downy. Nothing
> interesting so I turned away. Within 30 seconds, there was a loud thud as
> a mourning dove hit the window. I looked out to the snow to see if the
> bird was just dazed and would recover. An adult sharp shinned hawk was
> standing above the dazed (or more) dove and then flew away with him.
> While I have seen sharp shinned hawks a number of times near my home, this
> was a clear view from only 2-3 yards away...the red eye. the absolutely
> square tail and the adult plumage were beautiful.
> It seems more likely that the hawk was a Cooper's, according to what I just
> read but the square tail and the size makes me think sharp-shinned. Could
> a sharp-shinned catch and carry a mourning dove?
> And, by the way, I now have no birds at my feeder.