The power of a blog!
A couple of weeks ago we put up a post entitled Help With Hawk Identification. Thanks to our readers, the consensus seems to be that Marg & Alan saw a dark morph, juvenile (1st year) Swainson’s Hawk.
Jeff Reid pointed out that the Sibley’s Guide to Birds of Western North America has a drawing that looks just like our bird. The book also states that dark morph Swainson’s are uncommon, covering only about 10% of the population.
While many of us couldn’t identify this hawk when we first saw it, thanks to our faithful blog readers, I bet we’ll know it next time!
No, this isn’t a quiz – we really don’t know what species of hawk this is. This photo was taken last week near Vulcan, and the hawk was estimated to be about 20-22″ by Alan Plumb & Marg Matheson. So far, this is one of those birding mysteries that are so challenging (and annoying) to birders…
We forwarded these pictures to Terry Koryluk for his input, and here is his reply.
A most interesting bird. I have nothing in the photos to reference the bird sizewise, but it’s probably a member of the Buteo family. Judging by the broad blackish tips to the tail feathers, it appears Rough-legged Hawkish in that respect. The plumage of this bird is a plumage that I would call not a familiar one in any of the Red-tailed, Rough-legged, or, Swainson’s Hawks that have moved through our area. The underparts and head look a great deal like those of an immature Red-shouldered Hawk, but, are probably too dark for that. If it were a Red-shouldered Hawk, it would be first for the Province. It could be a hybrid of 2 of the 3 firstly-mentioned Buteos.
We would love to hear your comments on what you think this bird this might be, and why.
Beginning birder Marg Matheson is again sharing her stunning photos with us. This has clearly been the year of the Sharp-shinned Hawk, as we’ve received countless reports and photos of their appearance from many different locations.