Dear friends,
      Thanks for your help on the bird ID.  Responses from MoBirds people are running 11 to 1 that the bird is a Rough-legged Hawk.  Very cool.  I hadn't considered that because I'd been narrowly focused on the more likely possibilities...some odd morph or immature version of a Red-Tailed, Red-Shouldered, Harrier, etc.  If any others want to take a peak, you can click on:
 http://www.pbase.com/mobish/image/106437401
 
 
As for the bird book conversation, my personal favorite is the picture-less tome by Peter Dunne, entitled  The Essential Field Guide Companion:  A Comprehensive Resource for Identifying North American Birds.  As a writer, I'm intrigued and fascinated by how he so accurately and succinctly describes how birds look and how birds act using language that distills to the essentials.
And as a Texas native, I've enjoyed reading and re-reading Mark Adams' Chasing Birds Across Texas which captures so many of the people and places unique to the state.
 
Yours,
Robert Schnase
Columbia



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