I know, I know… it’s a Swainson’s

I can be… um… slightly hard-headed at times. I want very badly for this to be a Ferruginous Hawk. Not that I think it necessarily looks like one, just that I want it to be one, you know?

I went all the way to North Dakota and deserve to have seen a Ferruginous, don’t you think? I had my life Swainson’s Hawk in Cape May years ago and a textbook-looking one that Bill of the Birds showed us on my birthday on the first day of the Potholes and Prairie Festival.

Then, we surprised this hawk the following day in the hills of the Coteau Region. Tell me what makes this a Swainson’s… maybe I’ll take your word for it.


As an aside: I’d thought separating Eastern hawks was difficult. Pfft!

The Swainson’s has 3 age classes and is polymorphic (whatever the heck that means!) The Ferruginous has 2 ages classes and is also polymorphic. (I think!)

13 thoughts on “I know, I know… it’s a Swainson’s”

  1. wow, someones been travelling around since i last visited,,and seeing great birds too! 🙂 can’t see enough details to be sure on your hawk in flight.. but they’re numerous in that area so taling your word 4 it 😉
    getting you up on my sidebar b4 i losse you again sweets – lots to catch up with here 🙂

  2. No problem. You want this to be a Ferruginous? Then, based on my total lack of knowledge, I declare that you have spotted a Ferruginous. It’s only fair and you deserve it.

  3. Mary: I feel that way pretty much too. Even with five different field guides in front of me!

    Cindy: Hey! Don’t take my word for it – I’m clueless!

    Nice to see you blogging regularly again. I’d missed your beautiful images and wish I could comment on each one to tell you so.

    NCMountainWoman: Thanks! 😉

  4. Is this a light-morph Ferruginous?
    As I live in the Ohio River Valley, I have never seen one.
    Did it have all white underparts?

    Good luck on that last picture.

  5. Lynne: (giggle)

    Rabbit’s Guy: 😉

    Cedrorum: I probably do that too often.

    Jayne: Thanks for confirming it!

    Rick: Thanks yes, it was enjoyable. You’re lucky, I think, tho I wonder about the winters.

    Monarch: Yeah, neat.

    Susan: I saw only what’s in the pics!

    A friend, who’s also the local expert, confirmed that it’s a Swainson’s. ;-(

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