This handsome bird is a common sight throughout western Pennsylvania. It is adaptable to many environments, making it a striking visitor anywhere from fields and forests to suburbs and parks. The sharp-shinned hawk derives its name from the shape of its lower legs, which are more flattened than are the shins of other hawks.
The sharp-shinned hawk is the smallest of the three species of Accipter in North America, but the male and female show the largest difference in size of any American hawk. The male is roughly the size of a blue jay, and the female is twice as large as the male. This difference in size means that the male tends to hunt much smaller prey than the female. These hawks display long tails and short rounded wings, which enable them to excel at quick turns and tricky navigation through trees and branches.
Photo: Dario Sanches