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Old Thursday 11th October 2007, 16:05   #1
Gary Clark
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Hawk ID, Idaho

I have a very hard time with hawks. Almost every large buteo we see is a Red-Tailed, but they have so many color variations that I'm baffled when I see something that I *think* might be another species. Such is the case with this large hawk I found on top of a power pole in southern Idaho (farming country, previously sagebrush plains, around 2500' elevation).

Help would be appreciated; I've been working on him for months, and still aren't sure of the ID.

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Old Thursday 11th October 2007, 16:27   #2
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I think it is a Swainson's Adult Intermediate Dark Morph. See Plate 261 in Wheeler's Raptors of Eastern North America (I know location is different but I'd bet the western version of the book has a similar photograph.) Note white undertail coverts and the glimpse of the underwing pattern and the long wings in relation to the tail length.
cordially,
Bob
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Old Thursday 11th October 2007, 18:42   #3
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I see quite a Swainson's around North Texas, & although this bird is darker than the ones around here, it does seem to have the same basic pattern. Given the long wings... I'd say Swainson's.
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Old Thursday 11th October 2007, 19:11   #4
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Nice images of Swainson´s Hawk - some reasons for that mentioned by Bob.

JanJ
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Old Friday 12th October 2007, 00:49   #5
Gary Clark
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Thanks! I went back to the books, and came away convinced that Swainson's is the best fit. I'll post a large version of the first photo to the Gallery tomorrow.
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Old Friday 12th October 2007, 21:25   #6
Steve Gross
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During my birding time in Idaho, I've had about a 60-40 Red-tail to Swainson's distribution.

I have a friend in St. Anthony, ID, and once she learned the field marks of the Swainson's, she started seeing them all over the place! One of the first birds I showed her was a dark morph - beautiful bird, indeed.

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Old Saturday 13th October 2007, 01:33   #7
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Swainson's are very uncommon visitors to the east. On rare occasions one appears at the Hawk Mountain Watch Site. None so far this year.http://data.hawkmountain.org/cgi-bin/count/viewdate.cgi
Bob

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Old Saturday 13th October 2007, 01:47   #8
Jeff hopkins
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Actually, according to hawkcount.org, Hawk Mountain had one in August. We also had a possible on Bake Oven Knob in September.
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Old Saturday 13th October 2007, 02:25   #9
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Good! I missed that. Must have been listed under other raptors.
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