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...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Accipiter Confusion

I had no doubt when I saw this bird right outside our back door that it was an adult Cooper's Hawk, in spite of the indented tail. It was crow sized, had the sloping head I associate with Cooper's, capped look. The margin of the tail appeared white, not dusky.

Then I looked at the photos. How could any "shins" be sharper than these???


Someone please tell me what this bird is and why. I thought I had finally mastered Accipiters --- at least those sitting still a few feet from me --- but apparently not.

Postscript: the wonderful people at Oregon Birders OnLine have come through with the definitive word: it's a Sharpie. They each had different reasons, however. Charles Gates says sharp shins and eye position (closer to the middle of the head in a Sharpie, which has a smaller head), Pamela Johnston relied on head size. Karen Saxton gave this great website:

But Karen's suggestion to measure the branch was the most conclusive for me. I ran outside and measured: 2 inches. Ergo the hawk could only have been 10 inches tall (or slightly more when not scrunched down digesting a meal, the remains of which are in its talons). That's Sharp-shin size, not Cooper size. I guess when a bird is close to you, it looks bigger than when it is farther away. Duh.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First Raptor Run of the Season

Since the weather was scheduled to turn normal-November rainy on November 2nd, I opted to do my Grand Ronde raptor route on Friday, November 1, while the weather was still good. Johnny and friend Dawn and I had a great run and I even got a few photos.

Within the first few miles from home (our starting point), we saw four White-tailed Kites between Tyee Rd. and Hebo Rd. in Grand Ronde. Here are two of them...

and then a mile south along Grand Ronde Rd... the spectacular white-winged Red-tailed Hawk that has lived in the Grand Ronde area for many years sat and posed. Someday I'll get a photo of him in flight with that beautiful red tail against the white wings...

... A well-camouflaged Cooper's Hawk was along McPherson Rd. in Grand Ronde. Fortunately, it flew across the road right in front of us before landing and melting into the tree.

A few miles west we found another Kite in an area where we used to see them regularly, some years ago, in a field on the south side of Hwy 18 just before the road dives into the woods west of Grand Ronde.

We saw a total of 12 kites on this run but none of the others were close enough for photos.

On private property off Willamina Creek Rd., we saw one Red-shouldered Hawk where we have seen a pair the past couple of years. It was quite far away but I couldn't resist attempting a photo. Such a beautiful bird.
The two Rough-legged Hawks off Old Wallace Bridge Rd. did not stick around long enough for me to get them in my viewfinder. Maybe next time. We saw four more kites there... way off.

On the Oregon Wildlife private road, we had no trouble photographing this lone Impala. I take a photo of him almost every time I go there. He poses as though he expects it.

What a great start to our winter raptor route season!

Totals on our 77.5 mile route, for the curious: 42 Red-tailed Hawks, 18 American Kestrels, 14 Northern Harriers, 2 Rough-legged Hawks, 12 White-tailed Kites, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 2 Barn Owls (Fink Family Farm residents), and 4 unidentified raptors either too high in the sky or with someone coming up fast behind me and no place to pull over.