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Old Wednesday 8th October 2008, 22:18   #1
Scrogdog
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Hawk ID's in North Central Texas?

Today, on a trip to my lake cabin north of Nocona, TX, I saw five hawks within about nine miles of one another either sitting in the middle of a hay field or on high line poles along the side of the highway. I had my camera with me, but after getting photo's of the first two I saw, the batteries on my camera died and I wasn't able to photograph the other three. I'm not sure about the first bird if it's not a Red Shouldered Hawk, but think the second bird is probably a Cooper's Hawk.

Gary
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Old Wednesday 8th October 2008, 22:43   #2
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The first bird is a juvenile Swainson's Hawk. And the second is a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.

Here is a picture of a juvenile Swainson's Hawk for comparison.

http://k53.pbase.com/u23/rmr24/large...564_edited.jpg
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Old Wednesday 8th October 2008, 23:47   #3
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Falcon,

I wasn't able to access the picture you had a link to showing a juvenile Swainsons, but I thought the malar markings of the bird probably ruled out Red Shouldered and I can see the similarity of the markings of the first hawk with that of a Pale form Swainsons based on my field guide and some photos I found online, but am having a hard time seeing markings or color with the second hawk that would definitely ID it as a Red Tail. What form of Red Tail do you think it is and what are you basing your ID on? My camera went dead just as I took the photo I posted, and wasn't able to get a another shot showing more of his breast or tail feathers that might provide more identifying marks.

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Old Wednesday 8th October 2008, 23:52   #4
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The second bird is a Red-Tail. You can see a hint of the characteristic red on the tail. Also note how bulky it is. An Accipiter would look more streamlined.
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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 00:00   #5
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Well, if my two hawks are Swainsons and Red Tail, that gives me two new birds for the year to go with the Red Shouldered and Cooper's that have frequented the trees around my backyard. Just wished my camera hadn't gone dead, or I could have got photos of three more hawks today. Heck, no telling how many new birds I might have added to my year list.

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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 00:39   #6
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Gary, if you drive on the interstate and see hawks circling over it, those are most often redtails. I never see them well from the car, but have pulled over to look at some on two lane roads.
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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 01:19   #7
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Four of the hawks I saw this morning were perched on high line poles adjacent to a rural two lane farm road that ran through both wooded and open fields about five miles south of the Red River, and they appeared to be watching the ground below them for movement by small rodents they could feed on. The only one that didn't was the juvi. Swainson which was a larger bird than the other four and was standing about 100 ft. off the road in the middle of a hay field. As I tried to move closer for a better shot, he flew to another location farther out in the field and landed again. I would still be interested in knowing what the other three hawks were. I'm hoping they will still be around in as great of numbers next week when I drive up the same road to work on my lake cabin again. The only birds I saw in greater numbers than the hawks this morning were Scissor-tailed Flycatchers which were very abundant on the high lines in the same area as the Red-tailed.
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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 02:37   #8
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Based on your estimate of their size as smaller than the Swainson, I think it is safe to rule out the muscular Red-tails. Red-shoulders are a possibility. Accipiter like in appearance, (and often confused with Cooper's when seen perched) they are smaller and stockier than the slender Swainsons, but the difference in size might be difficult to estimate when seen separately from the Swainson. A good possibility is that at least one or two of the hawks you saw perched on the high line poles likely were Coopers hawks. Wheeler states at page 174 in his Raptors of Eastern North America that they are the only Accipiter to perch on telephone poles. Broadwings also like those perches but they are long gone by now.

Sibley gives these average lengths: Swainson 51". Red-tail 49". Red-shoulder 40". Broadwing 34". Coopers 31".

Bob

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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 03:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
Sibley gives these average lengths: Swainson 51". Red-tail 49". Red-shoulder 40". Broadwing 34". Coopers 31".

Bob
Sorry if I misunderstood something but please note that these are wing-span measurements. Lengths of the body listed by Sibley in my copy of his book are Swainson's: 19", Red-tailed: 19", Red-shouldered: 17", Broad-winged: 15", and Cooper's: 16.5".

Jack

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Old Thursday 9th October 2008, 10:09   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjackb View Post
Sorry if I misunderstood something but please note that these are wing-span measurements. Lengths of the body listed by Sibley in my copy of his book are Swainson's: 19", Red-tailed: 19", Red-shouldered: 17", Broad-winged: 15", and Cooper's: 16.5".

Jack
Yes you are right! Dumb mistake on my part. My Bad! I should have proof read my post first and then gone to bed, rather than just the opposite! Thanks for pointing this out.

Bob
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Old Friday 10th October 2008, 04:58   #11
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Originally Posted by ceasar View Post
I should have proof read my post first and then gone to bed, rather than just the opposite!.
Bob
Don't worry about it--I'm sure I've made more than my share of misstatements for the same reason.

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