How to - Wildlife

Birdwatching: Sharp-shinned hawk

The sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus) is a 24- to 34-centimetre-long raptor that will take advantage of bird-feeding stations to prey upon songbirds. Most often, activity around feeders will cease if this bird is in the vicinity; however, it can be a patient predator, lying in wait, concealed among the branches of nearby trees, anticipating the birds’ return. 

Common throughout Canada in woodlands and open areas, female sharp-shinned hawks are mostly brown with whitish markings, while the males, smaller in size, have blue-grey heads with reddish markings on a whitish breast.

Sharp-shinned hawks closely resemble the larger Cooper’s hawk, which also feeds chiefly on songbirds and is found in southern regions of Canada.

Photo by Dario Sanches

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