This hawk and her mate have become increasingly frequent visitors to my yard with its bird feeders. I think she is a Cooper’s hawk, and not a sharp-shinned, and here’s why:
Cooper’s are bigger, 14-20 inches – crow size – as opposed to 10-14 inches – dove or jay size – for the sharp-shinned. This is a big bird. Eyes are closer to the front of the head than those of a sharp-shinned.
Feathers on top of head are darker than those behind the neck, giving the bird a capped appearance,as opposed to a uniformly dark cap and nape in the sharp-shinned.
Listen to the call: It may be a post-dinner song, somewhat defiant, as if to say: “Well, I have to eat, too!”
But check out these links from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website and decide for yourself:
Identifying the Cooper’s Hawk
Identifying the Sharp-shinned Hawk
Tricky Bird Identifications
Cooper’s Hawk photo
As a somewhat belated warning, the flickers call after-the-fact in imitation. Their normally slower-paced mellow cry becomes faster and more shrill: “Be mindful: Hawk was just here and may come again!”