Saturday, November 7, 2009

Do you recognize this raptor

Do you recognize this raptor?
Soaring/circling/hunting as a pair well above the highest trees (crows take flight), wings come to a point midline not to trailing edge, pronounced tail fan, white tail, black other (from below with strong winter sun). Not eagle-sized but not small either. :) Not sure that's enough to go on. St Paul, Minnesota. They didn't stay too long. What do they eat? Thanks for the good answers. I'll keep the question open for a few days to let you know what I find out locally, if anything.
Zoology - 4 Answers
Random Answers, Critics, Comments, Opinions :
1 :
Not enough info. Hawk ,not falcon....broad-wing,not long--wing. Redtails are the most likely. All are carnivores;will take anything from pigeon to sparrow to rabbit,mouse,etc.
2 : was thinking dinosaurs.....
3 :
Have you checked the Birds of North America Whatbird website? Each attribute you enter narrows the number of birds that your bird could be:
4 :
The first guess would be Buteo, probably not Red-tails. Light can play funny tricks on us, so looking up from below at something up in a bright sky can be a bit tricky. Still, your description sounds more or less consistent with a couple of different buteos you might see in your area - there is a dark-phase Ferrugious Hawk and also the winter resident Rough-legged Hawk that both have white tails and dark areas of the body. I'm not entirely clear about your wing description, so you might also consider taking a look at the Northern Harrier - they tend to have thinnner, more strongly pointed wings when soaring than Buteos do, and although they like to fly low over cornfields and marshes in the winter months, birds can do anything. It would also be a good idea to get in touch with whatever local bird organization you can find. They tend to know best what's around in the local area. Is there a MN Audubon or Ornithological Society? All of those hawks will happily take smallish mammals ranging in size from voles on up.

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