Swallow-tailed Kites!

16 August 2016
I've said many times that my favorite raptor is the Swallow-tailed Kite, and as difficult as it is to choose a favorite, if you've ever seen a Swallow-tailed Kite float effortlessly in the air, then you can't blame me for choosing. First of all, their elegant shape alone with their…

Red-tailed Hawk Eye Color Note

08 August 2016
I've seen a few mentions of eye color being used to age Red-tailed Hawks on the internet recently, so I thought I'd write a short blip relating to the subject (FYI - here is another related post http://www.hawkwatch.org/blog/item/988-eye-color-usually-matches-molt). Yes, it is true that 1st-year Red-tailed Hawks (and most buteos) have pale…

ID Adjectives

02 August 2016
I was thinking about the adjectives we use to describe certain (sometimes esoteric) aspects of bird identification. For instance, we can say an American Kestrel has "quick" wing beats compared to most raptors and that is pretty easy to see or undertand. But, if we say the wing beats are…

Golden Eagle Tails

28 July 2016
Here at HawkWatch, we are working on several Golden Eagle projects (i.e. https://hawkwatch.org/our-work/west-desert-raptors) and I thought I'd share a tidbit on one aspect of a particular project, which is ageing Golden Eagles to a specific year. Ageing Golden Eagles can be tricky because the amount of white in the wings varies…

Are You a "Watcher" or a "Toucher"

26 July 2016
The title of this post sounds like I am pitting bird banders against watchers, but I’m not of course. By the way, I happen to be both, and I am so glad that I had the interest and the opportunity early on to study birds in the field and up…

ID by Consensus

19 July 2016
Bird identification sites on the internet are a fun and wonderful part of birding these days. I wish the internet was around when I was starting out in birding, it is such a great learning and sharing tool. I find the internet the best way for me to disseminate information…

Accipiter Caution

14 July 2016
Fall is just around the corner and hawks will be migrating south soon...and I can't wait! One of the tips for identifying Cooper’s Hawk from Sharp-shinned Hawk is that Sharp-shinned Hawk may cock its tails up in certain conditions, whereas Cooper’s are not supposed to exhibit this behavior. Yes, it…

Interesting Ferruginous Hawk

11 July 2016
Check out this neat adult dark-morph Ferruginous Hawk sent to me and photographed by Tony Leukering (one of my birding mentors) last week in Montana. What I find neat about the bird is the whitish streaking on the chest that resembles what most adult dark-morph Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks look like. Having…

Teaching About Raptors

08 July 2016
HawkWatch International loves nothing more than teaching people about raptors, and teaching is one of my favorite job duties as a HawkWatch Educator. This is somewhat ironic because when I was counting hawks for a living years ago, the last thing I wanted to do was talk to people...funny thing…

"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…