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MN Shutterbug

Swainson's Hawk

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It doesn't seem possible, but I went thru 4 bird books, 3 online sites and googled images, and everything points to this as being a White-tailed Hawk. However, they are only supposed to be found along the coast of Texas. I wish he would have been turned a little more to the side so I could have seen if there was a the rusty shoulder patch. Even though, if I enlarge it more, I can detect a bit of orange in that area. The colorings and size all indicate this is what it is. My first thought was Northen Goshawk, but they don't have the all gray face. Any other ideas?

3471556327_9d1878241f_o.jpg

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Certainly being no hawk expert here but after going through my "Sibleys"... the one I keep going back to is the "Swainson's"...I see you mentioned a patch of "rusty" on the shoulders(which I also see) which leads me to the Swainsons.....the white tailed doesn't have any rusty on the upper chest from what I see....and doesn't have the "white face" as the Swainsons has...... I'm going with Swainson's grin

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You are probably correct, jonny. It looks very similar to both, but considering their range, it pretty much has to be the Swainson's. I did find a photo of one that looks identical, that someone dubbed a Swainson's Hawk. I think I looked at too many books. grin Anyway, it's definitely a new species for me. When it comes to raptors, I can never get enough.

Jonny, your input is appreciated. Thank you.

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I agree with Jonny, Mike. I believe this is a light-morph adult Swainson's, and the edge of the darker color ahead of its shoulder is the beginning of the dark Swainson's bib.

Good to see you ignored the range maps when making your initial ID. There's no doubt range maps can help with ID, but I've seen species far away from where the books say they should be. Some birds wander long distances off their usual range. Best to make an ID on field marks/habitat/behavior rather than maps, and then use the maps as a contributing, rather than determining, factor.

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I'm not great at IDing hawks. But I think this looks like a red shouldered hawk. Its hard to tell from this pic because you can't see his chest. But I see some similarities to this pic of mine. Then again, I don't know if my pic is a red shouldered or a coopers hawk, but I'm leaning red shouldered.

2973496640048837225S600x600Q85.jpg

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I worked with red shoulder hawks for a couple years and it looks like one with the redish chest and shoulder the other identifying characteristic of them is the black and white banded tail and their loud screaching cry.

Here is a young Red Shoulder...

DSC00768.jpg

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Do the Swainson's Hawk eat fish? The reason I ask is this morning there was a hawk like bird fly around our small lake and it was diving for fish. It was larger then other hawks I have seen and was dark brown/black on top and white on the bottom. Never saw one like this. Sorry no picture and not the best description since it did not get within 100 yards of me.

Any idea's on what that could have been?

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fishdale, likely you have an osprey. If you don't have a bird field guide, do a search online for osprey pictures and you'll know right away if that's what it is. They are very distinctive.

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An osprey would have been my first guess, too. They are a very cool looking raptor. I met someone last fall that lives on a lake by Park Rapids. Late spring they have ospreys show up and fish in front of their cabin, on a daily basis. They've seen just one this spring, on an occasional basis, but will be calling me when they can guarantee them every day. That should definitely be worth a trip. I'd love to get shots of them fishing.

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Hawks are certainly a week spot of mine. They usually don;t present themselves for a good view and a lot look so much a like.

I like to pose, fence post and barb wire it all goes well together. Good job Mike.

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Sweet image, I love the character of that old fencepost. Also, great placement of the subject in the frame.

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That's an exciting new find! New Ulm DNR is doing a study on Swainsons in Minnesota and are particularly interested in Swainsons that may be nesting in Lincoln, Lyon, and Yellow Medicine counties. I will forward the e-mail I got for reporting sightings. The study may be extended into May due to the late weather pattern. Nice photo.

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After I took this shot, I emailed the photo to Cornell and they finally got back to me. I had completely forgot about it. Here is what the email says: The bird in your photo is a beautiful adult Peregrine Falcon. The angle of the photo doesn't let you see the characteristic "moustache" feature of this bird.

I have no idea.

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