Friday, September 14, 2007

Hawk silhouettes, a surprise flower and a picture by Isabelle.

I got a good silhouette picture of a hawk today, so I thought I would do another "Hawk ID" post.

So, beginning birders, what type of bird is this?
If you want to go back and read my previous post about hawk ID's, clickity-click here.
hawk silouette 1

Long tail. Short wings. Head extends far beyond shoulders, looking like a mallet.
Cooper's hawk.
Also, when you are watching a hawk fly away, (which is usually how you are seeing them) accipiters have a flight pattern of flap-flap-glide.

Hawk sil 2

Short tail. Long wings. And of course, a red glow to the tail.
Red-tailed hawk.
The flight pattern of red-tails is soar-soar-glide.
Difference between RT and red-shouldered hawks in flight: Look for the white crescents on their wings.
Remember the rules of anatomy: Form equals function.
Cooper's hawks are forest hunters, so they need speed and agility to chase their prey (usually birds) through the obstacle course of trees. Hence the rounded wings and long tail (acts like a rudder)
Red-tails are more of a open area hunter, and are built to soar. Hence the long broad wings.

TV silouette

From a distance, this could be lots of things. But even at a distance, if it is tilting back and forth as it soars, you are looking at a vulture. And the lighter underwings are a good tip-off that you aren't looking at a bald eagle.
Differences between black/turkey vultures:
BV's are smaller than TV's, and have black heads versus the red head on the TV's. But if they are way up in the air, that isn't helpful.
But BV's have whitish primaries (the "fingers" on the wings)

And to add a bit of frivolity to this post, here's a quiz:
I found a flower in a surprising place today. Anyone want to guess what this is?

Scroll way down for the answer.


Yep, it's butter.
Why did I take a picture of butter?
It could be either:
A. It was just so cool, I had to. It's a floop of butter!
B. I was under the powerful influence of a spread with no trans-fat.
C. I am Blogzilla.

Finally, a picture of Elvis drawn by Isabelle:

Isabelle's pic of Elvis
Elvis in the middle (see the barring? What a smart girl.)
On the right, a dead rat on the feeding block.
On the left is me, looking in through the door slats.


The Swami said...

I can't believe it's butter, but I believe the last picture is the work of a genius.

Rachel said...

I love the x for the rat's eye, and the four legs in the air, that's pretty creative!!

Lynne said...

You're probably not going to believe this, but when I looked at your mystery flower my first thought was "well I don't know what kind of flower it is but it looks like it's made of butter".

You keep saying Coop's look like a mallet but I don't know what you mean. Is the handle the wings or the body?

Love the picture of Elvis- especially the dead rat with x's for eyes!

Chris said...

I thought it was ceramic! Great pic!

Jayne said...

What great ways to remember and ID the raptors. Thanks Susan!

Patrick Belardo said...

I've always heard (and said) that Sharpies look like mallets and Cooper's look like crosses.

Adventure Boy said...

i like your blog its cool when i get older i want to get a American kestrel

Mary said...

Your posts are full of surprises but guess what? I'm getting better at hawk IDs. The vultures in flight (TV vs. BV) aren't clear to me yet but I'm working on it. I'm getting better because of you.

I thought the flower was ceramic, too.

Dave said...

It looks just like you in the drawing. Isabelle draws great. Love it!

singapore florist said...

i thought it was a balloon.