Friday, October 11, 2013

Rare Hawk

A rare hawk was found this morning at the Randolph Golf Course driving range 7 miles from my house.  When I arrived the guy who had found it and another birder were looking at it through the netting that surrounds the driving range.  The bird was originally reported as a possible Red-shouldered Hawk but apparently others thought the description fit well for Broad-winged Hawk. 

The birders and I witnessed some odd behavior a couple times when the hawk flew into the netting, grabbed on, and flapped its wings.  It also spent some time on the grass.  It was flying well, but clearly not feeling 100%.  Golf balls whizzed by the perched bird more than once.  Then out of nowhere a Red-tailed Hawk swooped down and tried to grab it!  We thought that was the end of it, but it somehow survived.  It wouldn't have been the first time a rare bird was killed right in front of a group of birders. 

After getting good looks at it, it was clearly an immature Red-shouldered Hawk.  This bird is casual in Southeast Arizona with around 20 records, but this is the first that I know of from October.  I've seen them in California, but this was my first for Arizona.  These photos show the brown head, very light red shoulder, barred secondaries, and the beginning of dark streaks at the top of the breast.

These flight shots by my friend Andrew Core show the rufous wing linings and white crescents near the tip of the wings, making it the subspecies from California.

CERange Map for Red-shouldered Hawk

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