Guess That Hawk|
Can you identify the two hawks?
|October 18, 2009|
On October 13, 2009, we had a very good hawk watch at Jo Hayes Vista and saw a hundred raptors, including two bald eagles and an osprey. At one point during the day, two hawks rose from the valley below. My immediate assumption was that they were a pair of red-tailed hawks; however, when I checked my photos, I realized that one of the hawks appeared quite different. Unfortunately, the LCD screen of my camera didn't allow enough detail for a good identification then and there (even with two experienced watchers along with Sue and me).
At home, I couldn't identify the second hawk at all and succeeded only in confusing myself. I dispatched three photos to the State College birders list, and two hawk experts identified the hawk for me.
I was impressed.
Anyway, following are the same three photos. Can you identify the mystery hawk? (Hint: Belly band.)
I don't intend to frustrate anyone, and the answer and reasons can be seen by scrolling to the end of this page.
||The second photo.|
||The third and deciding photo.|
The answer appears below.
The first photo shows a red-tailed hawk (left) and red-shouldered hawk (right); the second has red-shouldered (left) and red-tailed (right); and the third has red-tailed (left) and red-shouldered (right).
Both are immatures (one of the reasons identification is more difficult, although in the first two photos the belly band of the red-tail is an easy ID.
The red-shouldered hawk ID was tough because its chest is uncharacteristically light. The qualifying features are a light-colored crescent close to the end of each wing (in the third photo), black-tipped wings, and a slimmer body.
Photo note: I used a Pentax K200D, with the SMC reflex 1000mm lens on October 13, 2009.
Look Out! | Contact