Wednesday, May 19, 2010
broad winged hawk?
I saw this raptor two days ago when I was out on a lake about 20 miles north of St. Paul, MN, doing a vegetation survey. The trash barrel the bird is perched on is about 100 feet from the water's edge at a campground/marina. At first I thought it was one of those owl decoys people sometimes put on their docks to keep the gulls away, but a look through the binoculars confirmed it was a real live bird! I snapped this photo with the office camera, which only has about 4x optical zoom. Even so, the photo turned out good enough with some zooming and cropping.
I didn't have a field guide with me, and my first thought was Cooper's hawk. But after looking at the photo, and comparing it with Sibley's, I knew it had to be something different. The facial markings did not match those of a Cooper's, and although the size was within range this bird seemed chunkier, not very accipiter-like. For size perspective, those seams on the side of the barrel are probably 15 or 16 inches apart.
I didn't even think of looking at the broad winged hawk in the field guide; I had only seen them in flight. But when I saw the illustration in Sibley's I thought, "That's IT!"
What do you think?
By the way, the weather was just as sunny and gorgeous as it looks in the photo. It's 80 degrees today. I just put the snow shovel away last weekend. That's Minnesota in May!