Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bird Help!

I was driving home from the grocery store, and about three blocks from my house, at this little park, I saw what looked like a cat at first.  But I stopped, went around, pulled to the side, and brought out my binoculars, and it was a bird!  Then I drove home, got my camera and zoom lens, and went back.  The bird was still there!  So I took some pictures.

I think this is an immature Ferruginous Hawk.  That would be a first for me, and a fairly rarish bird for this area, but it's migration time, and immature birds sometimes go a bit off the usual track.

Can anyone either help me make a better ID or have more confidence about the Ferruginous one, please?

UPDATE:  I got in touch with a local(sort of) raptor center, and they put me in touch with an expert, and he kindly explained that it's an immature (2012) Red-Tail Hawk.  I feel like such a noob.  Still, it was COOL to see!


  1. I don't know what the bird is, but wow! It's gorgeous! What a find, eh?

    I know that there's some way you can use an actual image to search on Google, but I am not sure how to do it. Maybe there's an online forum that you can consult for how to do an image search on an image you have??

  2. Hm. Ferruginous wouldn't be my first guess, since it hasn't got the rufous legs or tail. If I absolutely had to guess, I'd guess at an immature short-tailed hawk, but I can't judge size from the photos.

    But you're dead right about the juvenile -- just the way he's standing screams "teenage doofus."

    Also: stunning photos!

  3. I'll ask my partner tomorrow morning and let you know her verdict. She's a bird person.

  4. Thanks, all, just to clarify: it was BIG.

    Short tailed hawks would be very, very uncommon up in the upper midwest.

    The two hawks with feathered legs that I see in my Sibley are the Ferruginous and the Rough Legged. But the white underside isn't what I see in Sibley for the Rough Legged (though it would be much more expected around here).

    Size-wise, in the upper pictures, that's about a half a squirrel left that it's eating.

    Finally, the rough-legged look like they have a less robust beak; this bird's looks bigger.

    Thanks again for the help :)

  5. Anonymous5:52 AM

    My good friend the birder thinks that it might be a ferruginous hawk or a broad-winged hawk. She also says that hawks are notoriously difficult to identify.

    Whatever it is, it's a beautiful bird!

  6. I just got an email from a local expert, and he explained that it's an immature Red Tail. I feel like a noob, but a MUCH smarter noob!

  7. My partner concurs with your expert, and specifies that it's probably between one and two years old.

  8. Yep, we see those all over the place down here. He has such lovely pantaloons!