"Subspecies" vs. "Race"

05 July 2016
Interesting to me, I get asked quite often what the difference between the word “race” and “subspecies” is when talking about or discussing bird ID. Do the two words mean the same thing, or do they have two separate meanings? Basically, the words mean the same thing, but race is…

Tips for New Hawk Watchers

28 June 2016
As we head into July, it will only be a month or so until the first migrant raptors start to head south, so I wanted to post some tips for new hawk watchers as a heads up and something to bookmark as you become immersed in their new hobby. Seasoned…

Judging Size - Be Careful!!!

23 June 2016
We have all judged the size of a bird in the field, and still do! However, size alone as a trait for ID can be very misleading…and by ‘misleading’, I mean it can lead you to a misidentification very easily! It is similar to any identification scenario in birding, a…

Nesting No-no's

14 June 2016
Since it is summer and nesting season for birds, HawkWatch is receiving calls and questions pertaining to bird nests. So, we thought we'd discuss the best practices regarding approaching bird nests, or encountering fledgling birds. HawkWatch agrees with a 'no-nest' policy, meaning we never encourage anyone to approach an active…

Red-tailed Hawk Pitfall

08 June 2016
I wanted to post this older blog again since this discussion came up the other day... There is no doubt that the Harlan's race of the Red-tailed Hawk (bird #1) is the race that often shows mottled remiges (this defines the secondaries and primaries as one group -- "flight feathers" defines…

"Black" Hawks

06 June 2016
Did you ever notice how similar in plumage the adult Common Black-Hawk is to the adult Zone-tailed Hawk? They are both pretty much completely Black overall with a white band on the tail (or two on most Zone-taileds). There are slight plumage differences between the adult plumages, such as the…

4-star Rating by Charity Navigator

02 June 2016
HawkWatch International Earns Coveted 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator Press Release June 2, 2016   SALT LAKE CITY – HawkWatch International maintained its 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, after the implementation of a new rating system called CN 2.1, which features enhanced financial methodology.  The 4-star…

A Swainson’s Hawk Note

31 May 2016
Have you ever noticed how every ID issue regarding raptor Identification has caveats and pitfalls? Just when you think you have something down well, a curveball is thrown your way! The natural variation in plumage and shape for many species is immense and sometimes overwhelming for a beginner, but don’t…

What is an Expert?

28 May 2016
What does the word “expert” mean, or what is an expert? To me, an expert (birder) understands their subject via experience and knowledge through varying approaches. An expert is aware that they do not know everything about their subject and never will. They make bird ID’s based on fact and…

Telling Osprey Sexes

16 May 2016
This time of year is a great time to observe Osprey pairs (male and female together) as they are spending much of their time within a specific territory. However, try to observe raptors from a distance of course so as to not disrupt their nesting behavior or habits. Anyway, I…