Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bad Photos of Beautiful Birds ...Can You Identify this Hawk?

As I sit at my desk the view directly out the window is of a little forest. 

                             On top of a 7.5 foot tree stump we set a bird house that  Mark made for his mother a number of years back.

Thus far, no one has moved into the birdhouse in its new location,  but this squirrel frequently uses the gabled roof to voice his opinions and feelings.  It's his little "blogspot"  whether anyone pays any attention to him or not.  After  his pronouncements and ground inspections, he makes his return trip  up the standing tree,  scrambling and hugging his way straight up well over 100 feet. 
I apologize for the terrible photographic quality...but I had to take these photos through the window or Mr. Squirrel would have abandoned his podium, and cut short his talk to avoid the risk he perceives me to be. There are real risks in his world...and one of them recently came visiting.

This visitor also found the bird house roof a fine place to perch and survey the garden.  Once again I had only moments  to capture a photo through the window...but I tried.  And since then I have been trying to learn more about hawks.

 I am familiar with Red- tail hawks when they look like mature male Red-tails...but  identifying females and youngsters and at different seasons is not something in which I am well versed.  So if you know help me identify this bird.  It is about 18" tall and has yellow feet.  The pattern on the chest struck me as horizontal bars.  Unfortunately I didn't see the tail shape in flight but it appears longer to me than a Red-tail's.

I posted these photos on Facebook and three friends,  all native Californians and lovers of birds themselves, gave me three different opinions.

One friend thinks it is a juvenile female Red-tail Hawk, another suggested Swainson's Hawk, while a third  said it is a Cooper's  Hawk.

The habits of Cooper's Hawks certainly fit this bird showing up above a bird bath in a treed area as they do prey upon smaller birds.  The large head, red eyes and longer tail also fit Cooper's Hawk descriptions.
But I am not sure...are You?

Oh, and as I titled this post "Bad Photos of Beautiful Birds... I better share a few more fuzzy shots.  My excuse this time is that I was early morning barefoot and such and had let out a cat when I noticed a flock of quail that I thought would rather be stalked by me than the kitty... so I ran out and took photos that aren't a lot blurrier than I was in the moment...and the birds are beautiful.

 Quail  always seem to post a lookout...so as soon as the door opened  the flock was on the move.

 I was sure there was a quail or two in this picture...they do hide themselves quickly.

As promised...a bad photo of a beautiful bird.

Thanks for visiting...I'll come back soon if you will too....and while I enjoy all your comments, it will be really fun if someone can please help me identify the hawk.  


Pom Pom said...

Wow! Beautiful photos, I think!
Hawks are so interesting. Maybe TexWis would know. She likes in Texas and is an excellent bird photographer. Her blog is on my blogroll.
The squirrels are FUNNY this time of year! I get a little mad when they spill one of my feeders, but the baby squirrels are so cute I have to forgive their relatives.

DavidDavid said...

Juvenile Redshoulder Hawk, CedardHawk!...very cool pics, I'd say...


Katie (Nature ID) said...

I vote juvenile red-shouldered hawk. I think of Cooper's as having much longer tails and Swainson's as "wearing a dickey". If you look up images, make sure you're looking at a CA red-shouldered, as they look a little different than those found in the east and in FL.

What's a Cedard hawk?

wayside wanderer said...

I don't know my hawks at all, but this one is rather regal looking. I'm glad you got a photo but I hope he wasn't munching on anyone you care about.

Jeannette said...

Of course I am eagerly watching to see if this hawk might fly in again. I had to drive a lot yesterday and saw many beauties on the wing but had to keep my eyes on all the swooping traffic on the road. Thanks for the ideas, appreciation and general friendliness...isn't it amazing what one small creature can bring into your life!
I'll go look up red shoulder pics taken in the western realm. Having read a bit more, I am leaning with DavidDavid and Katie ID!

Neal said...

Great set of pics... It could be a juvenile Cooper's Hawk as they have the mottled colouring, but I would not disagree with Red Shouldered Hawk since we don't have them up here. Cheers, Neal.

Martha said...

Beautiful quail, too. ♥