View Full Version : Seven Sisters 24/04 - Name this bird?

04-25-2004, 12:35 PM
Well, after deciding not to go to the Whites because of uncertain weather I had a fantastic day on the Seven Sisters section of the MM trail in Western Mass. Blue skies, warm sun and a stiff breeze to help keep the black flies off.

Spotted my car at the Rte 47 end and Karen dropped me off at the Notch to start my hike around 11:30am.

The trail was mostly dry with only one boggy section where it joins and then crosses a trail used by ATV's and they had done a real number on it. A short bushwack avoided the badly churned up section.

I'll have a bunch of pictures and more verbage up on my web site later, but the highlight of the trip was a close encounter with a hawk.

It swooped over my head and came to rest in a nearby tree at eye level a few yards away. I have the best picture up on the main page of my web site. I think it is a Red Tail Hawk but I'm not positive and welcome any other ideas.

www.bobspics.com (http://www.bobspics.com)


04-25-2004, 02:00 PM
Did you see it in the air? Were the wing tips straight out or bent up?

John S
04-25-2004, 04:15 PM
If you spend enough time in the woods you eventually get to see the good stuff. Great picture, Bob.

Given the thickly set body and wide tail, and much red in the tail, a red tailed hawk would be a safe choice. Hawks are tough to identify because so many look alike and we rarely get to see them so close as in your picture. The only one I can usually identify is a Northern Harrier, and thatís only because of their distinctive flight and the fact that I know they are resident in an area I frequent.

04-25-2004, 04:27 PM
Looks like a red tail to me Bob. Many Red Tails show that band of dark feathers across the chest visible in the photo in addition to the tail color. Great shot, what was your tele setting?

04-25-2004, 08:32 PM
I'll second that... it's a Red-Tailed Hawk. Good picture. They are usually shy.

04-26-2004, 05:41 AM
Looks like the vote is swinging towards my original guess of a Red Tail Hawk. The more I tried to find identification info on the web the more confused I became. The same bird seems to go through many changes in the course of its development and season to season.

MichaelJ - I didn't see it in the air for long and then it was in the trees. It swooped in over my head and landed in the tree then, after letting me take a bunch of pics for maybe three minutes, took off and dived downslope away from me.

Turnbill - the Exif data says 1/195s, F4.7 and a focal length of 71.2 mm Whatever that means - I just press a bunch of buttons, point it in the general direction and hope for the best... ;)

I have the rest of my pics up but didn't caption them yet.

I also have one itchy blackfly bite on my arm :(

When does winter start again?


Jim lombard
04-26-2004, 10:18 AM
It looks like a Red Tail Hawk to me, maybe a bit immature. The tail shape marks it as from the Buteo family and the Red Tail would be the most common up here. I've had several close encounters with them.

Papa Bear
04-26-2004, 10:34 AM
With the dark band across the chest I'd say it's a slam dunk as a Red Tailed.

I find that a good bird book is usuallky better than looking at photos on the web since the book will abstract what is characteristic of a bird (compared to other species) whereas photos of course are individuals.

Habitat and location is equally important. For Massachusetts in the Spring you can limit your choices.

One last point: there's an old saying for field IDs of wild life: "when you hear hoof beats, don't think zebra!"

Red tailed.


Doc McPeak
04-26-2004, 10:53 AM
I would guess Red Tail as well. The Raptors have been out in force lately. I saw a Bald eagle on the way up to hiking in Lake George the other day, then was treated to an enormous owl as I left the woods at dusk. It still amazes me how such a huge bird flies so quietly.

04-26-2004, 11:05 AM
Breast band of vertical streaks -- this is a classic Red-tailed hawk, definitely.

04-26-2004, 02:20 PM
Doesn't anyone recognize this as a red tailed hawk? The chest band clearly identifies this species but this one isn't fully developed which indicates it is not mature ... maybe like a 20 something. The younger ones don't have the band at all. Any clues as to its gender?

spider solo
04-27-2004, 10:56 AM
I would lean towards it being a female...pretty hard to guess out of context and all but it looks like a "big one."
Somewhere within a half mile is probably a smaller very hopeful young male... as young males tend to be.
It is thought that the males might be smaller to help in its swiftness during hunting and increase it's chances of being a "good provider" for mom and the fledglings...that theory does seems somewhat speculative. I don't know if there is any real info to back it up.
But the hopeful young male ......well that I can believe.

04-27-2004, 11:21 AM
This was a big bird - I would estimate at least two feet from tip to tail.

The ruffled feathers on its back are from the wind. I have another image where the wind blew its neck feathers up around its head like a ruff and it looks more like an owl. I didn't put this on the web to save it the embarassment :)


05-03-2004, 07:48 PM
Love your red tailed hawk picture on your web site. I think that the white flowering small tree is the shadblow.