I got a new neighbor, is it a hawk?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by toomuchfun, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    IMG_2923.JPG
    IMG_3771.JPG IMG_4038.JPG IMG_4173.JPG IMG_4206.JPG IMG_4949.JPG

    Hmm, I think these are; Kestrel, Swainson, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Maybe another Swainson (or Ferrungenous? It was pretty big), and a Coopers Hawk.
     
  2. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    At least 19 species of raptors migrate down the East coast of the USA every fall. And that includes Virginia, where red tails are a year round resident. For many years I was a regular at the Cape May NJ fall hawk watch platform and at Hawk Mountain in PA and I've seen all these birds.

    From https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/birds/raptors/

    "Six species of hawks nest in Virginia: red-tailed, red-shouldered, broad-winged, Cooper's, sharp-shinned, and the Northern harrier. The red-tailed hawk is perhaps the one with which most people are familiar, as it is commonly seen perched along roads and interstate highways, especially during the winter months"

    But, you'll very rarely see a red tail hanging out at a bird feeder because small song birds are not really part of their meal plan! Red tails, like the other buteos, feed on small rodents like rabbits and squirrels. Accipiters, like sharpies and Coopers feed almost exclusively on small songbirds. That's why they hang out close to birder feeders hoping for a slow chickadee, titmouse, etc.
     
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  3. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    The first one is a kestrel. The second is probably a Swainson's. It's not a great photo but they are a Western species and not found east of the Rockies. You're right about the osprey and the bald eagle. The next one could be a dark morph ferruginous but again it's not a great photo. What makes identification somewhat difficult is that these buteos/soaring hawks come is different color morphs. Red tails, for example, can be almost white, or almost black and everything in between so you have to look for other things like the red tail's "belly band " of darker feathers.

    The last one is I think...a red tail.

    Here's a Cooper's hawk...

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    Red Tails are all over here. The pic I put up is in Reston, Va. Which is the DC area. I'm in Va, Beach which is SE Va,
     
  5. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    Cool! Well then, I might have been misidentifying Coopers. I'll hafta help myself to a google! They had a nest right across the street, 2 parents 2 babies we think. Is there any chance that ours out west here are lighter morphs? The sounds those things were making seemed different than most of the Red Tail sounds I've heard. I think that picture might have been one of the young ones. Got a few more of em....


    IMG_4948.JPG IMG_4954.JPG
     
  6. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That's definitely a red tailed.
     
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  7. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    Look at the bird in your second photo. What color is its tail? It’s distinctly copper red!

    There are 14 generally recognized regional races/subspecies of red tails which all vary somewhat in sizes. Western red tails tend to be darker but again there are lots of variations - known as color morphs.

    Red tails are by far the most common larger hawks in North America. If you see a largish hawk perched high in a tree at the edge of some woods or by the side of a highway you simply make the assumption that it’s a red tail unless you can prove otherwise. At least 95% of the time you’ll be correct.
     
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  8. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    And just thinking about this, the Commonwealth of Virginia should know better as the term “Hawk” is very unscientific.

    Don’t they consider falcons to be hawks? Peregrines and kestrels both nest in VA, and the former were traditionally known as Duck Hawks and in Europe kestrels are traditionally called Hover Hawks. And ospreys also nest in VA and were traditionally called Fish Hawks. To further add to the confusion, buteos that are similar to North American red tails are called buzzards in Europe, but in the USA the term buzzard usually refers to New World Vultures.

    I guess that’s why if you really get into this stuff you eventually learn the scientific (Latin) names for all these families and species. :eek:
     
  9. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Those are some fancy pyjamas.
     
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  10. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    lol, my color vision isn't very good. But I shoulda also noticed what it was eating! Its got fur on it, not feathers. Altho we find little poofs of dove feathers quite often too...
     
  11. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    A little pile of feathers is a sure sign that there's a sharp-shin or Cooper's hawk in the neighborhood. And they often have a favorite perch, like a fencepost, where they pluck their prey before eating it. And if you look through that little pile you'll often find an inedible part or two, like a beak or a foot! These hawks also kill their prey with their talons, rather than their beaks. They catch their prey and "foot" it to death.

    Those smaller woodland hawks/accipiters are the psycho killers of the raptor world. Bones mentioned earlier that female hawks tend to be larger than males. The size difference appears to be dependent on how aggressive the species is. As an example, turkey vultures aren't that aggressive at all and males and females are about the same size. Sharp-shinned hawks are extremely aggressive and females are typically 1/3 bigger than males. One of the theories for this sexual dimorphism is that the larger female is better equipped to protect her chicks from the male, who will eat them if he gets the chance!
     
  12. teleman1

    teleman1 Tele-Afflicted

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  13. E5RSY

    E5RSY Doctor of Teleocity

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    We have a huge Mexican Free Tailed bat colony nearby that darkens the sky every day at dusk as they head out for the night. There is also a handful of redtail hawks (some of the luckiest on earth, probably) that fly around every day when the bats come out and catch bats to their hearts' content. Lazy and well-fed...not a bad gig.
     
  14. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Afflicted

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    Your new neighbor may not be around too long as this is the seaso when hawks are migrating.

    Sure looks like a redtail, cool to see
    it up so close!
     
  15. stepvan

    stepvan Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Red tail hawk for sure
     
  16. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

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    We have lots of bird feeders in our yard, which quickly become squirrel feeders... And occasionally have Coopers and Sharp-shinneds hanging out. Beautiful birds. Always a thrill to see them out on our deck.
     
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