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I'm really enjoying the discussions of misidentifications.  They are very
informative.  I did think about a red-shouldered hawk when looking at the
"broadwing", but wasn't convinced about the translucent crescents at the
end of the wings, and didn't know wht else to look for.  Since then, Ive
reviewed field marks in the books, and will be much better prepared the
next time.  Going through the books is a fun project for a winter
evening.  As I wrote to Charlene, if all the broadwings are supposed to
be gone, and I'm not an expert hawk ID'er, it seems the most likely ID of
the hawk over my house last week was a red-shouldered.  


n Wed, 4 Jan 2006 18:52:01 -0600 David Becher <[log in to unmask]>
writes:
> The only person who has never misidentified a bird is someone who has 
> never identified one.  I know that I have been caught in plenty of 
> mistakes over the years and that is only the ones that I know about. 
>  The important thing is to learn what you can from your mistakes.  I 
> like to think that I make a better class of misidentifications these 
> days.  
> On the question of telling Red-shouldered Hawk from Broad-winged 
> Hawk in flight the quickest way is to look at the wings.  A 
> Broad-wing has white flight feathers with black tips giving the 
> impression of a white wing with a black outline.  The flight 
> feathers on a Red-shouldered are barred with a white patch (window) 
> near the wing tip.  A Red-shouldered also has thinner more numerous 
> bars in the tail.  Although it is unlikely here, another similar 
> bird is Gray Hawk.  In flight it can look very like a Broad-wing 
> except that the body and wing coverts are gray rather than rufous 
> tinged.
> I agree with Mike that most Broad-wing reports after September are 
> probably mistakes, but the possibility of birds that failed to 
> migrate on time or got lost cannot be ignored.  Any Broad-winged 
> Hawk in the winter should be documented as well as possible and 
> submitted to the rare birds committee.
> 
> David Becher
> Saint Louis
> 
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