Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cold Weather Birding

Red-tailed Hawk eating its kill in a recently plowed ag field.
 This is the coldest weather I have ever experienced in the Valley - morning temps in Mesa were 24 degrees.  My bird bath was frozen solid!  So today and yesterday I birded from within the comfy confines of my home and my car.  I've discovered that cold birds are hungry birds, so I went out looking for raptors.  Right off the bat, I saw my first ever adult Bald Eagle soaring by while on the 202 freeway.  We cruised around through the ag fields southeast of Scottsdale Community College and within minutes spotted a Red-tailed Hawk tearing apart its prey in a recently plowed field.  An American Kestrel swooped down and whizzed by our heads, possibly ticked off that we were annoying his hunting partner.  Later we came upon a large (approx. 24" tall) mostly grey and white hawk perched mid-level in a cottonwood tree.  Someone help me out here - I'm guessing a female Northern Harrier or a Ferruginous Hawk?  I'm probably way off, so feel free to correct me. Unfortunately I didn't get a good view of the tail or rump patch.


  1. Hey Peggy! It looks to me like it could be a first-winter Red-tail, but hawk IDs give me a headache :)

    Let me know what you find out!

  2. Thanks for the input Josh. I'm releived to know that I'm not the only one who has trouble ID-ing hawks!


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