Fink Family Farm Bird List

Fink Family Farm Bird List

The only list I faithfully keep is a list of all the birds seen on our farm since we moved here in 1977. I thought it would be fun to ad...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Farm Bird #144: Red-shouldered Hawk




A hawk screamed KREER KREER KREER as it flew past my milk room window this morning. It did not sound like any of the hawks we normally have around here so I dashed outside with my binoculars to see if it was still in view. There was a buteo sitting on top of the big dead tree along our little creek. A Red-tailed Hawk sits there most every morning and this had the buteo shape. But even at that considerable distance, through binoculars I could see red barring on the front. I ran to the house for camera and scope (and Johnny to set up the scope while I fired off photos).

The photos are lousy but diagnostic. It was, indeed, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk of the California subspecies that has been rapidly expanding its range northward out of California. A pair we believe nested near Willamina, not too far from us, and this just might be their offspring.

I do not keep a life list anymore, since it became too confusing with all the splits and groups and I grew tired of crossing out numbers and either adding or subtracting one. But I do keep a list of all the birds ever seen on our farm since we moved here in 1977. This Red-shouldered Hawk makes farm bird #144. Hopefully, it will come back for closer, better pictures.

I wonder if it has been here before and I just assumed the buteo on the snag was a Red-tail? From now on, I check each one! And listen for that diagnostic KREER KREER KREER.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yellowlegs: Greater or Lesser?

This is driving me crazy. I can tell Greater from Lesser Yellowlegs when they are side by side or when they are near another species whose relative size I know (or can look up). Otherwise, I'm clueless. I have studied Paulson's Shorebirds of North America, The Shorebird Guide by O'Brien, Crossley and Karlson, plus Sibley, etc. If anyone can help, I'd be eternally grateful. First photo is of a Yellowlegs taken an Baskett Slough on Sept. 19. Second photo is of a Yellowlegs taken an Baskett Slough on Sept. 20. Is it possible to tell what they are from these photos? If so, how?

I am making progress on the Western vs. Least problem: I just look at the legs.

Addendum: Two knowledgeable birders have responded to say these are both Greaters. The base of the bills are bulky. Lessers have needle-like bills. Okay, here's a photo I took at the Oregon Shorebird Festival of 2 Greaters and 1 Lesser. (I know because of the size difference.) I"m not sure I would be able to call the Lesser's bill needle-like if I didn't see it with the Greater. Is there anything else to be seen in this photo that is different between the two (other than size)?