Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bird of the Day: Red-shouldered Hawk on West Campus

Birds seem to be coming out of the woodwork in these last few days. My walks for weeks now have involved few sightings of any birds at all, but as the fall season sets in, many more species are showing up. Today's bird is a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) that I saw hanging out near the ag compound on our West Campus. I saw the same species a month ago, the first time I've seen one in or around the West Campus "mini-wilderness".
Red-shouldered Hawks have an odd distribution, with populations in a strip along the west coast of North America, and widespread populations in the eastern United States, but with a gap of 1,000 miles between them. How did that happen? Perhaps same way birds got to Hawaii, getting blown way off course in storms. Or maybe the populations were connected during an earlier climate regime, such as the ice ages.

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