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:
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.