Thursday, June 30, 2016

Young Hawks Fledging Now; What Are You Seeing?

Young hawks of several common local species are fledging right now. Even after they fledge many continue to beg for food from the parents; often loud and incessantly in a shrill high-pitched scream.
Many of the young birds, while capable of flight, end up on the ground in residential areas if that is where the nest was. I get lots of photos sent to me.
Often there is confusion as to what species they are. Juvenile plumages of our local hawks vary somewhat from that of the adult plumage. While adults are very attractively marked, the juveniles are mostly brown with more vertical streaking on the chest and belly.

Below are some examples of the adult plumages of three of our most common residential hawks and the corresponding juvenile plumages.

The red-shouldered hawk is the most common and conspicuous residential hawk. The attractive adult is shown below.
Adult Red-shouldered Hawk by Lee Weber
The red-shouldered juvenile is vertically streaked on the pale breast and is an overall brown color on the top side.

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk by John Ennis

The adult Coopers hawk is somewhat similar to the adult red-shouldered  with the rusty breast but has a steel-blue top side.
Adult Cooper's Hawk byLee Weber

Juvenile Cooper's, like the red-shouldered, are vertically streaked on the breast. the streaks are finer and more defined.
Juvenile Cooper's Hawks by Jeff Lewis

The red-tailed hawk adult is easily distinguished by the bright rufous tail, even in flight from below.
Adult Red-tailed Hawk by Phil Fowler.

The juveniles lack the rufous tail, and can be separated from the other two species by the unmarked white upper chest with a variable belly band underneath.
Juvenile Red-tailed Hawks by Phil Fowler.


best cv writing said...

Great pictures of this sharp and fast bird! It is really difficult to take the pictures of this creature and with so much clarity, you have done a wonderful job.