Accipiter gentilis I

As promised, a Northern Goshawk. Goshawks are large raptors of northern woods and mountains. It’s in the Accipiter genus, along with the Cooper’s Hawk (A. cooperii) and Sharp-shinned Hawk (A. striatus). Goshawks are rare in general, and practically unheard of New York City.But a juvenile has been spotted in Prospect Park for about a month now. Yes, I know, that’s just crazy talk! Evidently the first to spot it thought it was a female Cooper’s Hawk. I went looking for the bird a handful of times over the course of a week before the word-of-mouth striking of the accipitrine lode up on Lookout Hill. In perfect later afternoon light….Doesn’t this bird look like its standing on some feathered prey? They do eat birds (Robins, Jays, Flickers) as well as mammals (hares/rabbits, Grey Squirrels, Eastern Chipmunks), but these are actually the bird’s own feathers. Are they under tail coverts or just leggings, the feathers at the feet? Wheeler notes that the under tail coverts can be fluffed and extended past the wings. The leaf-like patterning of the spots on these, as on the breast and belly, is gorgeous.

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