Hello, this is my first post. I'm so glad to have this resource available, as my birding mother-in-law is on a camping trip, and I cannot call her for immediate assistance! I've seen no mention of them on the local birding sites in the past few weeks, so please forgive me if these are "common" local birds not worth mentioning - they're new to me!
There have been a few small raptors in the Cambie Village area. I have seen them from 23rd to 14th, within the few blocks east of Cambie St. I first noticed them yesterday, although a neighbour says they've been around for a couple of weeks. I haven't managed to get good photos, unfortunately, but I've seen them from a few feet away so I'll try to describe them as best as I can. (I'm using Peterson's Western Birds 3rd Ed 1990 for reference.)
The birds are between 8" and 11", with a round head, short curved beak and puffy chest. There is no apparent neck. Their tails at rest are long and square, and fully fanned in flight. Some are grey/s in colour, the others are white/brown.
The greys have whitish chests with brown flecks in a striped random pattern, diminishing in size as they move toward the belly. The white/browns have the same patterning, although it seems in sharper contrast; in flight, their tops are patterned more densely, and in sort of radiating stripes outwards. The grey's tail has three distinct pairs of rings, starting with light grey at the base of the tail, then dark grey, and ending with dark grey at the end of the tail.
They have a shrieky sort of sound, like it sort of bursts out of them. It doesn't last very long, and it lowers in note at the end: KEEEeeeeee, KEEEeeee. The crows stay well out of their way. There seems to be a juvenile learning to fly, who makes it to the top of a roof and then sits there, calling until one of the larger ones comes to it. I think they're nesting in an oak tree.
The closest it comes to in my book (p. 172) is the Sharp-shinned Hawk. It is more consistently grey than the Cooper's Hawk, which seems to have a darker cap on its head. Also, its tail at rest is squared off, unlike the Cooper's. It's not a Northern Goshawk, because its head isn't tufted. But the call is all wrong! But the birds just don't seem big enough to be the hawks further on in the book.
Bonus bird! I saw another (unusual for me) bird just this morning. I immediately thought "plover," although I don't even know what a plover is, but in the book it looks similar. It was about 7", small head, about a 1.25" acute beak, slender neck, sleek body, and about 3" legs. Mostly brown. It seems most like the Pacific, American Golden- and Black-bellied Plovers (p.122) although it seemed to have the longer neck of a sandpiper. But would either bird be so far inshore?