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This is classic Accipiter courtship display. You didn’t mention the flared undertail coverts. They will often flare them out so much they cover the rump so they almost look like a harrier. 

Rob Bierregaard




Date:    Tue, 24 Feb 2015 02:34:01 +0000
From:    "Bailey, Tom" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Accipiter courtship?

Last Saturday morning, while jogging around Kirkwood, I saw a large Accipiter flying at fairly high altitude, in a circular pattern, with exaggerated, nearly 180 degree wingbeats on unbent wings, with an occasional glide.  The bird was at least the size of a crow, if not larger.  I assume it was a Cooper's, but given the size I would think it was a female.  Does this sound like courtship behaviour, and do females do this on their own?  There was no other bird in sight.

Tom Bailey
St. Louis County

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Rob Bierregaard
421 Cotswold Ln
Wynnewood, PA 19096
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