There’s a HAWK

,,,sitting not 15 feet away from me on a branch of the magnolia outside the office window.  He’s been there for at least  fifteen minutes, sitting and watching for little visitors or meals to come by.

I’ve looked on-line for pictures of hawks to determine what kind of hawk he is, and my best guess is a Red-tailed hawk.  He’s sitting with his back to me.  He’s at least twelve inches tall, probably more.  He has a brown back with white speckles or spots lining the outer sides of his back.  He has white-ish gray feathers folded behind his tail feathers, and it looks as though there are white-ish stripes on the back of his head.  He’s a very handsome bird.  Hmmm…no red tail.  I’ll have to check the bird books.

He’s sitting on a shaded branch where the forsythia in front gives him cover.  HIs head has been swiveling, watching everything around him.  I thought for a moment that he might be aware of me, when the cloud cover made the light from the monitor more obvious, but he didn’t leave.

I’m on the opposite side of the house from the bird feeders.  This is the first time I can remember having seen a bird this large so close to this side of the house.  Usually we see them using the bird feeders to hunt up a meal.

He ruffled his feathers and there are considerably more white feathers than I realized.

My quilting bee is coming to dinner.  I can’t stay to watch any longer, darn it!

4 thoughts on “There’s a HAWK

  1. Buffy–And you are not giving us a photo?
    1. What type of silhouette? (For help answering this, you might see the second page of the hawk guide at
    2.Do you recall the color of the legs and feet?
    3. Where did the tips of the folded wings strike the bird in relationship to it’s body and tail?
    4. Long, slender tail or stubby? Stripes across the tail?

    Actually, a 12-inch-long body would belong to a small hawk – such as a sharp-shinned. A bit longer would be a Cooper’s hawk, perhaps. Note that the sexes of the same hawk (and, definitely, the various ages) may be different colors.

    I know, I know…too darned many questions! Glad that you got to see the hawk and it will be nice for you if you can figure out what species you saw. Good birding!

  2. CC….he had an accipiter silhouette. Thanks for the guide. I’m not positive, but I think his legs and feet were a tannish-yellow. When the bird folded his wings, the tips could be seen to the sides and below the tail. At least that’s what it looked like. Not having ever looked for this aspect of bird detail before, I could be wrong. No stripes on the tain, and it looked stubby. I suppose now I’ve described FrankenHawk, right??

    Thanks for the guidelines. I’ll try to remember to look for these things in the future.

    I think the hawk may have been hunting on the south side of the house today. I heard a BANG and slide on the skylight above the tub. It’s the first time I’ve heard a bird hit the skylight.

  3. What a dumb question I asked. Nearly all hawks have the same yellow-ish legs & feet! *laughing*

    Your clarification that the wing tips came below the tip of the tail leads me to believe that the bird was a buteo. (Accipiters are long-tailed.) I’m guessing that it was some phase/form of red-tailed hawk. I would love to call it a Swainson’s hawk for you; but, they aren’t really found in the Chicago area and I don’t expect to see them sitting at your window. BTW: Not all red-tailed hawks have red tails! Especially that is true for juveniles. Sometimes we just have to trust our judgement about the way the bird is acting, where it’s found, and its form and ignore color variations. (And red-tailed hawks have zillions of color variations!)

    I am SO impressed with your observational skills. Well done!

  4. You’re sweet to say kind things about my “observational skills,” when we both know I’m a rank beginner at this. Thank you, though. With your guidance, I may get better at it.

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