Bird under the lilac bushes

by MNBob
(Minneapolis, MN)

Saw this bird under lilac bushes, think it was looking for a sparrow snack. Not sure what it is, the temperature was in the 30°F range, perhaps the fact that it was puffed up for warmth may have change its looks? Appreciate any help

Comments for Bird under the lilac bushes

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Nov 16, 2014
Bird Identification NEW
by: MNBob

Thanks John, I'm just back from cabin up by Lake Superior's Paradise Beach near Grand Marais, that's where earlier this year I was the host to what I finally decided was a broad winged hawk, I struggled with that one and did not know about this site at the time, maybe I should post pictures to get other's input.

Yes it's amazing what one sees if they take the time to look be it Minneapolis or Cottage Grove.


Nov 13, 2014
American Kestrel or Merlin? NEW
by: John P

Bob, glad to at least being a part of trying to identify your bird in the Lilac Bush.

The markings sure look like an American Kestrel but a Merlin might be a possibility too.

I know that the Kestrel or Sparrow Hawk is not usually very large and loves to go after sparrows hence the name "sparrow hawk". Also the Kestrel is a member of the falcon family.

At any rate it sure looks like a bird in the raptor family or a bird of prey.

Speaking of birds of prey I have had Great Horned Owls calling one another from a distance at night hearing them from the back yard and one is in a Colorado Spruce tree in our neighbor's yard.

I didn't think an urban setting like Cottage Grove, MN would have them but apparently they will show up anywhere in the state where there are large trees to perch and roost in.

They Great Horned Owls are also known as a "Flying Tiger" and can go after porcupines, squirrels, skunks, cats and even small dogs!

Never know what is going to show up in your yard this time of year!! - John P.

Nov 12, 2014
Then it must be
by: MNBob

an American Kestrel

Thank you for your help!


Nov 11, 2014
bird under the lilac bushes
by: Brook

Your bird is not a Merlin!

Nov 10, 2014
American Kestrel?
by: MNBob

Thank you John, I've been going between the American Kestrel and the Merlin, wondering if the latter might be what it is since it is larger than the size I see listed for the American Kestrel and is missing the Kestrel's face markings; but then it was partaking in the Kestrel activity of sparrow pursuit I was trying to get a better look when it took off.

I've had friends tell me it is an American Kestrel, a Merlin and a peregrine falcon, but I'm pretty sure it was smaller than a peregrine. Guess I can be pretty sure it's a falcon.

Nov 10, 2014
Bird under Lilac Bushes
by: John - Cottage Grove, MN

This bird looks like an American Kestrel.

Also known as a "Sparrow Hawk"

It is the smallest of hawks in North America and a member of the Falcon family.

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