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Judging Size - Be Careful!!!

23 June 2016 Written by
We have all judged the size of a bird in the field, and still do! However, size alone as a trait for ID can be very misleading…and by ‘misleading’, I mean it can lead you to a misidentification very easily! It is similar to any identification scenario in birding, a…

Nesting No-no's

14 June 2016 Written by
Since it is summer and nesting season for birds, HawkWatch is receiving calls and questions pertaining to bird nests. So, we thought we'd discuss the best practices regarding approaching bird nests, or encountering fledgling birds. HawkWatch agrees with a 'no-nest' policy, meaning we never encourage anyone to approach an active…

Red-tailed Hawk Pitfall

08 June 2016 Written by
I wanted to post this older blog again since this discussion came up the other day... There is no doubt that the Harlan's race of the Red-tailed Hawk (bird #1) is the race that often shows mottled remiges (this defines the secondaries and primaries as one group -- "flight feathers" defines…

"Black" Hawks

06 June 2016 Written by
Did you ever notice how similar in plumage the adult Common Black-Hawk is to the adult Zone-tailed Hawk? They are both pretty much completely Black overall with a white band on the tail (or two on most Zone-taileds). There are slight plumage differences between the adult plumages, such as the…

A Swainson’s Hawk Note

31 May 2016 Written by
Have you ever noticed how every ID issue regarding raptor Identification has caveats and pitfalls? Just when you think you have something down well, a curveball is thrown your way! The natural variation in plumage and shape for many species is immense and sometimes overwhelming for a beginner, but don’t…

What is an Expert?

28 May 2016 Written by
What does the word “expert” mean, or what is an expert? To me, an expert (birder) understands their subject via experience and knowledge through varying approaches. An expert is aware that they do not know everything about their subject and never will. They make bird ID’s based on fact and…