[Tweeters] Need help Identifying a raptor

Bill Anderson billandersonbic at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 12 09:44:53 PDT 2010

Wasn't there recent news about a Merlin's nest in the North Seattle area?   
Another small raptor which comes is mind is the kestrel. 

Peterson publishes a very good field guide on raptors.
Bill Anderson; Edmonds, WA.


From: Patricia Oates <pamoates at clearwire.net>
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Thu, August 12, 2010 7:35:28 AM
Subject: [Tweeters] Need help Identifying a raptor

I need help with an attempt to ID a raptor that briefly visited my yard. 
Unfortunately I was unable to capture a photo of it.  It didn’t match the
descriptions of any of the adult raptors in the area so I’m thinking it might be
a juvenile?  I can’t find much on juvenile raptor descriptions.  I’ve been
trying for two weeks to ID it without any luck.  I might not have enough info
since I couldn’t see the head, (only the neck down) but thought I’d give it a
It was seen in NE Seattle, north of Northgate on July 31st when it chased a bird
into my front yard (didn’t catch it, darn it.  It might have stayed still long
enough for me to have gotten a photo).
It was approximately the size of a crow.
The chest was a solid creamy buff/ very light brown with no streaking or bars.
Wings were bluish grey.
The underneath tail feathers were cream/white with no bars but what looked like
black dots at the end of the tail feathers.
It hunted by chasing smaller birds in the sky.  It was not very big.  In fact I
didn’t realize it was a raptor hunting at first, it was so small compared to the
Perigrine and Eagles.  I had thought it was a territorial bird until it landed
in my tree and I saw the talons.
According to the thin branch at the top of my birch that it sat on, it was a
very light bird.

I've seen adult Red Hawks, a Perigrine (although not for many years), and
juvenile Bald Eagles in my area.

I believe this bird's normal area is west of me.  It chased the bird from West
to East and after it rested it took off back West.
People have suggested a cooper’s hawk or a sharp-shinned hawk but it didn’t have
any banding on the tail feathers.  Do the juveniles still have banding?
Does anyone have any ideas as to what visited my yard?

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