Re: Hawk ID help please - Duh

Richard Bradus

Well - #%&*#!  Rather embarrassing this...

It's an immature Red-tail. Of course.

Though, as Keith Gress put it: "This is a hot mess of a Red-tailed Hawk". Nonetheless, I should not have allowed the worn and molting plumage on the wings to distract me from the key identifying features (as I - and many others of you noted): brown head, dark belly band and contrasting bright breast "medallion", flying in a dihedral, and the dark patagial stripes. Ah yes, those crucial patagial stripes - the field mark that I have been pointing out for years to neophytes as the most reliable feature for identifying a Red-tail if one cannot see the red tail. If only I had kept my own guidance in mind...

Well, this is just another confirmation of the wisdom that common things that appear atypical are still considerably more likely than uncommon things that appear typical.

Lots of responses, the most interesting of which suggested that perhaps the bird is a Mongolian Steppe Eagle, a vagrant or zoo escapee. Wowser! Anyone up for mounting an expedition to find one of those in its native habitat?

Thanks to all of you who responded and steered me to the obvious conclusion. Very much appreciated! I am a bit chagrinned, but hope that my gaffe at least provided you all with some entertainment.

If any of you are interested, my revised checklist and some photos of breeding birds can be found here:

Richard Bradus

San Francisco

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 6:18:09 PM PDT, Richard Bradus via Groups.Io <grizzledjay@...> wrote:

Hi all

Another morning, more signs of breeding, this time in the Presidio. Had a fledgling House Finch and multiple birds visiting nests or feeding young. And...

I'm baffled by a hawk I saw (poorly) flying in the distance northeast of Ft. Scott...

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