UPDATE #3: Peter has taken yet another picture of the hawk engaged in strange behavior that looks like play. He describes this in this comment below, and I’ve added a photo to the bottom of this post.
UPDATE #2: I am informed by the bird expert in our department that this is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, Accipiter cooperii. Based on this and my reading of the comments, I’ll call it that until convinced otherwise. Thanks to all for weighing in!
UPDATE: I’ve provided a new picture from Peter below plus his added commentary:
I didn’t imagine that my picture of the hawk in our maple tree would initiate a blizzard of comments! I wasn’t trying to “stump the WEIT reader” — I just wanted to share the nice photo, but I’m not a birder so I couldn’t tell you what species it is.
For the curious, the picture was taken yesterday, and the hawk resides in the Hawkeye State, Iowa. Here’s another shot, which shows more of the body. My guess is it’s a Cooper’s hawk. It’s likely a juvenile, since there are at least two of them in the neighborhood (who call back and forth constantly), making me think they are nest-mates.
You also asked what kind of camera I used — it’s a Canon SX30IS, which is neither expensive nor fancy, but it has a nice 30x lens and further digital magnification up to the 140x which I used for the first picture.
No, there are no prizes, but neither I nor the alert reader (Peter N) who took this picture knows what this is. I am 100% sure, though, that within an hour it will be identified. The reader gives this information:
This is one of a family of hawks (I don’t know what species) that lives in our neighborhood. I took this picture through my kitchen window this morning — bird was about 60 feet away, on a branch about 30 up.
The reader lives in the United States.
Updated photo by Peter, showing what he described in the comment below. He adds that “The sinister shadow in the foreground is, of course, our (strictly indoor) cat, Gus, dreaming of what might have been.”