Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Afternoon visitor

Yesterday afternoon I was walking into the office and this caught my eye out the window.
IMG 5963

When I first saw it out of the corner of my eye I thought: owl. No, not an owl. A hawk. Quite a large one, too. Waiting for some unsuspecting little bird to come down to the bird feeding area. Take a closer look:

IMG 5964


I got out the normal bird book and nothing matched. Hawks are really hard to identify since they can have different plumage at different times of year, whether or not they are immature or adult, male or female of the species. So, I turned to my Peterson’s Field Guide for Hawks and I believe I can property identify this one as a Cooper’s Hawk. Immature and most likely a male.

Here it compares three hawks to one another: the Cooper’s Hawk is in the middle (immature and female.) The call-outs are what identifies this hawk in particular. And they match! It calls attention to the white tip on the rounded tail; the square appearing head. Also important in identification is the eye color. And, if you’re trying to identify any bird, make sure the map shows it living in your area before you go any further!

IMG 5971


Hawkcallouts

Now why would I have a field guide dedicated to only hawks you might ask? Well, many years ago while living in Ft. Collins I took a class on Raptors through the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program. (Raptor is just another term used to described “birds of prey.”)  They used to be an extension of CSU, but now I think they are on their own. They rehabilitate injured hawks (and other raptors) and, when they can, release them back in to the wild. Some are not releasable and they live out their lives at the center.

It was a fascinating course! I had thought I would volunteer at the center feeding the birds but I just couldn’t bring myself to chop up mice!

If you don’t believe that these birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, I urge you to watch this video link below which includes incredible footage of a Harpy Eagle and you will see what I mean. Look at the sharp beak made for ripping and tearing, the huge talons, the eyes. This video clip lasts about six minutes and has other things of interest too. All shot with a Phantom HD camera (or course!) The Harpy appears at about 2:20 in to the video. If you’ve never seen one, please watch. Such a beautiful creature, but very prehistoric looking. They are also the national bird of Panama, and no I didn’t see one when we were there!

Harpy Eagle

Comments:

Good pics of your visitor.  And VERY cool video.  I haven’t seen my hawk all summer.

Thanks, C, but he was posing! I love that video and when you were here one time I think you watched it in its entirety, just the Harpy, didn’t you?

We had a bird that visited our feeder this summer that always caused a stir among our visitors.  We had a hard time id-ing him with the bird books and had to turn to the internet to figure out what this strange bird was.  In the end.. it turned out that it was a male cardinal that had lost all plumage on his head because of spider mites…. so, no exotic bird at my feeder, just a poor sick mite ridden cardinal.  :(

Maggie, don’t they look weird like that? I had one of those a few years ago too. Bizarre! Did you watch the Harpy video?

Just told you I hadn’t seen my hawk all summer and guess who showed up this morning! Or at least A hawk.  Wish I had your book to identify it.  It had caught something and was sitting on top of the telephone pole having breakfast.

wow…what a perfect match….he’s posing just like your field guide!

Carolyn, and so where was your camera? heh?

Debra, it’s not always this easy! smile

I grabbed my camera as I ran out the door, but there was no juice in the batteries.  You know how I am about charging things!

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