SHARP-SHINNED HAWK – (Accipiter striatus)
The sharp-shinned hawk (the male) is the smallest hawk in North America, at around 30 cm long (12 in.). It has long legs (hence the name) and a long tail but short wings, and lives in wooded areas. This raptor is blue-grey on its upper parts and has a white breast with horizontal light brown stripes. The rump is white and the tail has dark brown bands. As with other hawks and falcons, females are larger, and in this case, significantly (up to 50%).
The sharp-shinned hawk diet consists mainly of songbirds, which is why they can be found around bird feeders during migration. They cannot digest feathers, so they pluck their prey before eating them.
Sharp-shinned hawks are common in PEI, and they migrate to the southern USA and Mexico mainly. Their numbers plummeted during the DDT years, but they rebounded afterwards, like many other predatory birds. However since DDT is still used in some of their wintering areas, this can be cause for concern, due to their diet.