When I was outside I found what looked like a Cooper's Hawk, but when I went away there were two more sightings. Another student took pictures of the bird on the wall around our garden. The hawk was perched on top of a wall of bricks. Our problem was that we could not tell if our hawk was a Cooper's, a sharp-shin, or a even maybe a merlin. The birds look so similar in the field guides. But one difference is that the birds decrease in size from Cooper's, to Sharp-shin hawk to merlin. How could we measure our bird???
We measured the bricks on the garden wall. Each brick was 7 and a half inches deep, and two stacked bricks was fifteen inches. We also had a photo of the hawk perched on our garden wall. Using the picture we measured the head to tail length and compared that to the two stacked bricks. We discovered that our hawk was about 13 inches long, smaller than the height of the stacked bricks. This was our clue! Cooper's Hawks are usually bigger than 15 inches. In our books, we found that the Sharp-shinned Hawk was usually about 14 inches or smaller. We are more certain now that our bird is a Sharp-shin hawk. So we concluded that our song bird hunter is a Sharp-shinned hawk!