Raptors - Pale Inner Secondaries

23 May 2014
I've been meaning to post this for a while now, and want to share an unpublished tidbit that might be interesting to hawk enthusiasts (especially hawk banders). Of course, understanding molt sequence and feather patterns is important in ageing birds, and a while back, I mentioned the tail pattern quirks…

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawks in Spring (part 1)

22 May 2014
In spring/early summer, juvenile Broad-winged Hawks can be very faded/washed out due to sun exposure and feather wear, and appear very similar in plumage to juvenile Gray Hawks, especially the head pattern! If you see a hawk that looks like a juvenile Gray Hawk but it is way out of…

Juvenile Broad-winged Hawks in Spring (part 2)

22 May 2014
When molting in spring/early summer, Broad-winged Hawks with missing primary feathers may appear to have translucent comma-shaped windows similar to Red-shouldered Hawks. Other hawks show this too, but it is the Broad-winged Hawk that most often gets confused with Red-shouldered Hawk. Anyway, when birds are missing primaries, the "windows" in…

American Kestrel Study update

21 May 2014
Bandapalooza today! We met up with Don and Tom at Antelope Island today to band their first box of chicks and immediately got off track when an adult Swainson's stooped out of a soar to grab the cage of mice we had set out hoping to catch one of the…

Goshawk - Adult Male & Female

19 May 2014
Some raptors are considered sexually dimorphic, meaning that the adult male and female plumages are noticeably different than each other (or noticeably larger). A few species that show this plumage dimorphism are American Kestrel, Northern Harrier, Rough-legged Hawk, Merlin, and Snail Kite. However, there is great variation in plumage in…

The "Northern" Red-tailed Hawk

15 May 2014
What is the "Northern" Red-tailed Hawk? There has long been talk of a proposed race of the Red-tailed Hawk that has been called several names over the years, such as "Northern," "Canadian borealis," and "Canadian Eastern." P.A. Taverner (1927), W.E.C. Todd (1950), and Dickerman & Parkes (1987) all published excellent…

Bald Eagles With Dihedrals

12 May 2014
Most birders think of Bald Eagles as holding their wings flat when they soar, and they do of course, and almost always hold their wings flat or slightly bowed when gliding. However, they do soar with their wings slightly raised in a dihedral at times (see composite image). Remember (and…

A few ID's From Week of May 5th

11 May 2014
A bunch of people sent me raptor pics from the past few weeks and I wanted to post a few. I'll try to post more because I get a lot of interesting birds in my inbox, appreciate every one, and would love to share them. The top image by Cathy…

Mississippi Kite Sighting in Salt lake

09 May 2014
I wanted to share my sighting of a Mississippi Kite along the foothills of Salt Lake May 4th. It was the 2nd one for the state, one was spotted in May 2008 as well, but nonetheless, a rare bird in Utah. I have a feeling they come through with a…

2 Quiz Raptors shared with me

06 May 2014
I just wanted to share these 2 images that were sent to me recently. Bryant Olsen (an expert birder in my home state of Utah) shared the top picture with me. He photographed this hawk in Arizona in late April and of course knew what it was but thought it…