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Powell River, BC November 15, 2017

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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 18:50   #1
cjoakley
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Powell River, BC November 15, 2017

ID help please - too small to be an eagle but hard to figure out what hawk this is?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 19:07   #2
RafaelMatias
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It's actually a young Bald Eagle :)
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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 19:21   #3
The Bird Nuts
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Agree with young Bald Eagle...and it would be adult size at this age. Size can be difficult to judge.
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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 22:35   #4
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I don't think so - it was photographed near other young bald eagles and pretty sure it's not the same bird... but I could be wrong :)
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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 22:44   #5
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That massive bill should leave you no doubts Bald Eagles take several years to attain full adult plumage, undergoing almost continuous moult. In consequence you get many different types of plumages at one given moment in a population. This one is already showing a few white feathers on the head and neck, on its way to become fully white headed in a few years.
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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 02:40   #6
cjoakley
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This is not my photo. Some of the local birders/experts and the photographer insist both bird and bill are too small... I think perhaps the angle of the head in the photo gives the appearance of a much more square head which may have misled people... and, of course, had we been able to see the feet/front it would have made it easier to define. I did say the bill looked like an eagle to me and got shot down in flames. All the arguments to the contrary made me question/re-think my own ID which is why I posted here...

Appreciate all the help and the confirmation.
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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 13:31   #7
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Originally Posted by cjoakley View Post
This is not my photo. Some of the local birders/experts and the photographer insist both bird and bill are too small... I think perhaps the angle of the head in the photo gives the appearance of a much more square head which may have misled people... and, of course, had we been able to see the feet/front it would have made it easier to define. I did say the bill looked like an eagle to me and got shot down in flames. All the arguments to the contrary made me question/re-think my own ID which is why I posted here...

Appreciate all the help and the confirmation.

Hi CJ,

Regarding your initial estimate of its size. Where was this photograph taken?

I checked your map location shown in your Public Profile which places you in south western Saskatchewan if the coordinates are correct.

If this photo was taken in that area it could be a Dark (rufous) morph Ferruginous Hawk
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Wheeler's range maps show them in that area but not in the Powell River, BC area.

There are 3 photos of similarly colored Ferruginous Hawks in Wheeler's "RAPTORS of Western North America" at plate numbers 441, 442 and 453 all of which display the long-gaped, similarly colored large bill and overall dark color that this one does.

Bob

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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 15:38   #8
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Hi CJ,

Regarding your initial estimate of its size. Where was this photograph taken?

I checked your map location shown in your Public Profile which places you in south western Saskatchewan if the coordinates are correct.

If this photo was taken in that area it could be a Dark (rufous) morph Ferruginous Hawk
.
Wheeler's range maps show them in that area but not in the Powell River, BC area.

There are 3 photos of similarly colored Ferruginous Hawks in Wheeler's "RAPTORS of Western North America" at plate numbers 441, 442 and 453 all of which display the long-gaped, similarly colored large bill and overall dark color that this one does.

Bob
Bob,

I hadn't thought of dark morph Ferruginous Hawk as an option. It's certainly interesting, but I still think the bird in the picture is a young Bald Eagle.

Looking at pictures of Ferruginous, it seems to me that the yellow gape line contrasts more with the head color than on this bird. Also, although Ferruginous does have a large bill, none of the pictures I looked at showed Ferruginous having such a big bill in proportion to the head size.

Unfortunately I don't have the Wheeler guide (potential Christmas gift, perhaps!), so I can't compare directly with the photos you mentioned.
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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 16:09   #9
ceasar
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Bob,

I hadn't thought of dark morph Ferruginous Hawk as an option. It's certainly interesting, but I still think the bird in the picture is a young Bald Eagle.

Looking at pictures of Ferruginous, it seems to me that the yellow gape line contrasts more with the head color than on this bird. Also, although Ferruginous does have a large bill, none of the pictures I looked at showed Ferruginous having such a big bill in proportion to the head size.

Unfortunately I don't have the Wheeler guide (potential Christmas gift, perhaps!), so I can't compare directly with the photos you mentioned.


Birdmeister,

I'm not 100% convinced myself. The beaks in the pictures shown on the FHs in Wheeler's pictures are impressive for a Buteo. They also have feathered Tarsi and we can't see the Tarsi in the picture of this bird.

Wheeler notes that they "readily feed on carrion," (and he writes that this has hurt their numbers because of the poisoning of varmints in the Great Plains,) so it is possible that one might be seen with a few Bald Eagles that are scavenging.

The Wheeler guides are no longer published but if you keep your eye on the used book market you might run across one. They are rather costly there too. They came in Hard Back and also a less costly Heavy Duty Paperback.

I have both the Eastern and Western Editions but I recommend the Western Edition because is covers a larger variety of North American Raptors than the Eastern Edition; it includes almost all of the ones in the Eastern Edition.

Bob

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