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Manlius (east of Syracuse) NY near creek on top of highest tree -2 high 4 decent pic (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hello. At 7:30 am looked up and spotted what had to be a huge bird. It was too high to get a good pic with my iphone-too pixel-y. Except for the fact it was so high off the ground, it looked almost like a penguin watching everyone-seemed like it had a round white belly and coloring of a penguin. Seemed to be staring down at me. But turns out he was in direct shot of a rabbit that was alive last night but dead and half eaten this morning.

I went inside for a minute and when I came out it was gone so I could not get a better pic. We have plenty of Turkey vultures around; red tailed hawks, peregrine falcons-but this seemed bigger some how and it seemed like it as standing straight up like a penguin but I couldn't see it well so that might be an illusion. Last night there were some large black crew like things on the roof of the house. When that big bird was in the tree there were no other birds in sight.

So what do you think it could have been? Do you think it killed the rabbit or did it just come to eat after it was dead. The rabbit wasn't huge but it was not a baby either. I will post pics of the bird and the rabbit but, as mentioned, the pics are not good. (Does anyone know why it is so difficult to post pic on this site? It rejects mine as too large-so I will try- frustrating to continue-reducing the one pic makes it even worse. Odd that this is the only site I've ever been on where I've experienced this issue. Is everyone else using Androids? so the pic is here but the system created a brand new thread for me. What?


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Well-known member
United States
I would suggest Red-tailed Hawk based on the image. Rabbits are on the upper end of their normal prey range, but they would readily eat a dead one too.


Speak softly and carry a long lens
Can't see much in the photo, but photo, description, and behavior all indicate some kind of hawk. Red-tail is among the largest, the most common, and the most likely to kill a rabbit.

Hard to be sure who killed the rabbit, but most other wild predators would have dragged it away and hidden it, especially with a hawk around. A red-tail needs to get lucky to kill a rabbit, but they manage from time to time. What they can't do with a full-size rabbit is carry it any distance.

The killer could also have been a domestic cat or dog, who just wasn't very hungry.
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The Bird Nuts

Birding Duo
I agree that it is most likely a Red-tailed. The appearance of an unstreaked upper breast supports that. Hawks have upright postures, especially bigger ones.


Well-known member
Thanks everyone. We usually have loads of Turkey vultures and other large birds soaring across the sky. On that morning there was not one other bird to be seen anywhere. I bet it was a Red Tail Hawk. When I looked up at it it was obscured by branches. Looked like a huge penguin belly was looking down at me. But that had to have been an illusion of some kind given the height and my nearsighted vision. Thanks for replying!

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