28 October, 2009

Red-tailed Hawk

Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis

Population Estimate: 2M, Least Concern status

Range: Year-round throughout the United States and most of Mexico. Summers extends into Canada and Alaska.

Field Notes: The most common hawk in the United States. There are so many morphs it makes my head spin (see the Field Marks section on the Cornell site). The most reliable field note seems to be the red tail as in the top two photos above. I'm sure there are other ways to differentiate hawks, both in flight and while perched, but I just don't know them yet. I'll get back to you when I do.

Personal Notes: We have tracked many of these birds thinking they were something "different" only to find they were, while still majestic, the Red-tailed Hawk. As an aside, if you see it perching along the freeway in the United States, it's a Red-tailed Hawk. Really. Don't keep going back and forth on the freeway....

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