Monday, November 11, 2013
The 15 Minute Redtail, and Other Notes
"How do you know it's a redtail?"
How many times have I been asked that question, I wonder? After 33 years (I just counted) since I identified my first redtail, the real answer is I no longer think about it. I've written before about the difference between identifying birds and recognizing them, and we can pretty much place all Red-tailed Hawks in the recognition pile, which means I don't know how I know it's a redtail, I just do.
Not good enough. So we talked about it. For 15 minutes of a two-hour walk, we spent time, and it was well-spent, on a distant Red-tailed Hawk.
In this case, the bird in question was perched on a pole way out in the marsh of Forsythe NWR, and because of a high wind was leaning forward to almost horizontal, assuming the position of a typical, horizontally-perched Osprey. But this bird lacked the white about the head, and especially was warmer toned (browner as opposed to gray-black) than an Osprey. It was biggish, thought smaller than an Osprey, and that the wing tips nearly reached the tail ruled out any of the accipiters. It was too chunky to be a falcon, which are also long-winged. It was a buteo, and it eventually turned to show the belly band of a redtail. So that's what it was.
Posted by Don Freiday at 11:52 AM