Saturday, July 30, 2016

Selfie Saturday: For the Birds

For a few weeks now, I've been seeing the strangest bird, usually perched way up high in one of our trees or on the roof of the house next door. It looks kind of like a eagle or maybe a falcon, but it's too small to be either, plus it's lightly colored, with a lot of white.

Then the other day, I ambled into the kitchen to make myself some lunch, glanced out the window, and gasped. The bird was sitting just outside, on a fence post, surveying the back yard.

Luckily, my camera was nearby, so I managed to grab it and snap a few pictures before the creature flew away.  It all happened so fast, the pics mostly came out blurry, but I managed to sharpen them up a bit with a little help from Photoshop.

Figuring It Out 

Anyway, my husband sent the pictures to a friend who knows birds, and he told us it is a Broad-Winged Hawk. A hawk! Of course!  I should've guessed that myself.

Once we had the species, I did some reading and it turns out that Broad-Winged Hawks have a lot of white with short vertical stripes when they're young, but as they age they turn browner and the vertical stripes become horizontal. My conclusion: This little critter is a teenager, too big to be a baby but still marked by its feathers as a youth.

Left Behind

The thought is sad, actually, that somehow it must've gotten separated from its family and has had to set up housekeeping all alone, here in the Philadelphia suburbs. Now that I know what it is and have listened to its unique call online, I'm going to keep watching and listening and see if I can figure out where it has its nest. In the meantime, hopefully some more of its kind will come flying by soon and it can join in with them for the rest of their migratory journey!

Ironically, we have a place up in the Poconos, which is also home to the Hawk Mountain raptor sanctuary. Too bad we can't give the little guy a lift the next time we go up.

Enjoy your weekend–and these fuzzy-but-fun photos of my close encounter with the adolescent raptor. Now I just need to think up a good name for him/her.  Any suggestions?

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