Saturday, April 7, 2012

Swainson's Hawk

I spent about an hour counting birds in my yard this morning (using this nifty new iPhone app from eBird). I saw what I thought was a Turkey Vulture soaring high ovr the house. But when I got my binoculars on it I was pleased to see it was a Swainson's Hawk. This is a migratory species which is only in Texas during the summer. In the neighborhood we only see them during spring and fall migration. I got this photo which isn't good, but shows its unique light-and-dark pattern.

Swainson's Hawk

The body and fore-wings are light, while the flight feathers are dark. This is the opposite of the much more common Turkey Vulture's pattern.

Another migratory hawk I was excited to observe in the neighborhood was a Broad-winged Hawk. A few days ago, just after I got out of my car after arriving home, I heard its distinct call. It sounds very similar to a Killdeer, but does not make nearly the variety of sounds a Killdeer makes. I heard its call twice and was sure it was a Broad-winged. This species has bred in the neighborhood in the past. We are on the very western edge of its breeding range.


ConsciousGardener said...

It's still so amazing to me how attuned your ear is! Amazing! I miss the bird walk and hope to make it next month! Cheers!

Mikael Behrens said...

Hope to see you again soon, Cheryl. And the May walk is usually quite good!