[Tweeters] Need help Identifying a raptor

Patricia Oates pamoates at clearwire.net
Thu Aug 12 07:35:28 PDT 2010

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 try.

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
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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