Birder's Eye View

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two lifers...

I saw two life birds in the past couple of days.

The first one was on Monday. Heading home from class, I saw a HUGE hawk-like bird circling over the highway. Of course, I was in the car, but I was able to get a good visual on the pattern beneath the wings.

When I got home, I consulted my field guide, and determined that it was a Red-tailed Hawk! I know they're fairly common in the state, but I had never seen one before. I also hadn't realized how much larger they are than Red-shouldered Hawks. According to my field guide, Red-shouldered Hawks average 17" in length, with a wingspan of around 40". In contrast, Red-tailed Hawks are 22" long, and have a 50" wingspan.

The second lifer was seen today, again, coming home from class, and in almost the exact same area. However, this was no raptor. Floating in a nearby pond, I saw what I first thought was a Wood Duck. There was a fence in front of the pond, and many bushes, so it was hard to see, but when the duck raised it's head, a large, white spot was revealed.

A Hooded Merganser, I wondered? Doubtful, because I had only gotten a fraction-second of a glance, I again consulted my field guide when I got home. Indeed, I discovered, my suspicion seemed correct! I'm about 99% sure it was a Hooded Merganser, and that's enough to for me to count on my list. :-) I'll keep my eyes out for it again, next time I pass that area.

That brings my year list up to 51.

Happy birding!


  • nice finds! I wish red-tails were lifers everyday... lol they're neat birds. They're dirt common here though.

    and if you don't see one almost every day now, it means you've been jinxed! lol

    Hooded Mergs are fun too. although, just try telling them from Buffleheads at 500yds. it's tricky.

    Happy Birding! --Chris

    By Blogger Parus, At February 1, 2008 at 12:02 AM  

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