Monday, December 14, 2009

Preditors and identification...

So, I was out watching the rosies, when they all scattered. Did you know they fly in waves and patterns like starlings? Yup, though I didn't see much of that when they fly to cover. A big bird had come to check out all the activity.

I was on the phone at the time and saw the huge, dark thing in a big tree over-looking my yard. The raptors love that tree this time of year. Talking with my friend Donna, she walked me through what big guys would be here this time of year, I decided it had to be a very dark morph Red-tailed Hawk. What do you think? For some idea of size...I'll include nearly the whole tree as I see it without lenses; those are the rosies in the same tree on the left. Cheeky things, huh?

The point is, I saw no red in this bird...but through the process of elimination (which big raptors might I see where I live, this time of year), I'm thinking a dark red-tailed.

I have to tell you, I use about a ten year old PowerShot G3 by Canon. It's only 4.0 MP, F2.0 little thing, so even with my 'long lens' (and I use that term with a's a 2X digital zoom!). No, I don't see much. LOL Hey, it was the best I could get at the time; who knew I'd become a bird watcher?

At any rate, I also got a shot the same day of a
young accipiter.I get both Sharp-shinned Hawks and the occasional Cooper's Hawk; but they are so hard to tell apart...especially with my inability to get a decent photograph. Most of us decided this bulky bird is a Cooper's...but then I measured the fence. It's pickets are 3.5" wide (if I remember now), but the important thing is to know I measured from the top to the nails, where you can see the bleed in the wood. That was just about 11" even.

I'll include both versions of my (bad) shot to show you how I measured the bird. Using PhotoShop, I carefully selected the whole bird, head to tail, and moved the selection down so the top of the head was even with the pickets. I now see the bird is about 12" in length...which makes it a Sharpie or a small Cooper's. Cool, huh?

What say you?


Bosque Bill said...

I say birds should carry rulers around with them so we will know how big they are.

Beverly said...

LOL That would be helpful! I'm embarrassed to say that at first I thought the big guy was a Golden Eagle!

I've been watching SMALL birds entirely too much! LOL

Good to see ya!!!

DJB's Photo Adventures said...

Hi Bev, Looking at the tail of the accipter, I note that it looks squared rather than rounded which means that is would be a Sharp-shin. Just my 2 cents. Good call, I think on the buteo!