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Robert,

Thank you much for the assistance here.

We are expecting 6 inches of snow by noon tomorrow... Not sure what that
means for Public Education in my area (Snow Day?)...

If so, I plan to go back to the area, 20 minute drive, and look around a
bit.

As to the Northern Harrier possibility... DEFINITELY NOT...

I see both sexes and 1st year as well as adults every winter here. The
bird in question had no white patch on the rump. Additionally this bird
seemed overall bigger than a harrier. It's body was more rounded
(well-fed)... It's shape reminded me of the Hindenburg with wings...

During it's original perch I had only seconds to view the bird. In that
time, I noted it had no mask so I ruled out Peregrine and Prairie Falcon
fast... When it flew, the rounded wings ruled out most falcons in my
mind...

The barring on the tail during its initial perch was a few heavy / wide
bars, not numerous thin bars that seem to be more prevalent in the
falcons.

I do hope to get back to the area tomorrow... Unfortunately, there are
few roads here and the birds second perch was .5 miles from the highway.
Scoping would be required and at that distance it would be difficult for
me to tell anything more from its appearance than I got in the initial
perch view. That view was from only 75 feet.

What struck me as odd when the bird flew was the way it flapped its
wings...

I haven't seen a raptor fly this way. The wing beats were slower and
more deliberate as if the bird were laboring under a heavy load in think
air...

Sorry for the poor similes folks, but trying to describe something you
haven't seen before is difficult, especially when it's related to
behavior vs. appearance (at least for me!)

Patrick
-----Original Message-----
From: MO Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Robert Fisher
Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 6:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Possible Northern Goshawk, Marion County, Missouri


The bird Patrick describes sounds like a large accipter, although his
description does not entirely rule out Northern Harrier. Whether or not
it was a Northern Goshawk depends upon field marks he did not note.

Field marks for the immature N. Goshawk include a light supercilium
(line above the eye), wavy tail barring, more dense and blurred
streaking on the breast and belly, streaked under tail coverts and
(according to Sibley) pale bars on the greater coverts (rear portion of
shoulders). Cooper's Hawks have finer streaking, straighter tail
barring,  paler bellies and entirely white under tail coverts (feathers
rear of the bird's underside near the base of its tail). Cooper's Hawks
have proportionately longer tails and shorter wings than N. Goshawks,
which can look almost buteo-like when soaring. N. Goshawks' wings are
allegedly somewhat more pointed-looking than those of Cooper's Hawks,
although they should still look more rounded than those of a Gyrfalcon,
with which N. Goshawk is sometimes confused. Cooper's have a conspicuous
white band at the end of the tail. The N. Goshawk's band is narrower. A
female N. Goshawk is a very big bird. I once saw one in direct
comparison with a Red-tailed Hawk, and the N. Goshawk was larger.

N. Harriers are somwhat like Cooper's Hawks and N. Goshawks in that they
have long tails and do not have pointed wings like falcons. However,
their wings are very long, and their flight is slower and different.
Accipiters fly with rapid flaps, followed frequently by short glides.
Even when flying in a staight line, a N. Harrier's flight should be more
languid. Its white rump should also be visible, if you look for it.

Cooper's Hawks, like many raptors, come in two sizes. Females are
considerably larger than males.

I don't know what to make of Patrick's statement that the breast was
"nearly grayish white with a rusty buffy color mixed in." Grayish white
sounds like a mature N. Goshawk. "Rusty" sounds like a mature Cooper's,
or perhaps a Northern harrier. Patrick's statement that the tail of his
bird was "extremely long" also moves the ID in the direction of a
Cooper's or Northern Harrier.

Try to find it again, Patrick. This is a Northern Goshawk winter.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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