Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bird of the Day: Red-shouldered Hawks on Superbowl Sunday

More birds from an extraordinary day of bird-watching, last Superbowl Sunday. We decided to head out of town, and hadn't even made it to the bridge over the Tuolumne River when I spied a colorful looking hawk on a telephone pole. I don't see a lot of hawks inside the town limits, so I stopped and got a couple of pictures. It's a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), a medium-sized raptor with a very strange distribution. They are widespread around the eastern United States from New England to Texas and into Mexico. Then there is a west coast population, confined to Alta and Baja California, although a few have been noted in Oregon and Arizona.
We continued down the road to the Bear Creek Unit of the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, passing dozens of hawks on the highway, but at the refuge, there was another Red-shouldered Hawk posing for us. It turned out to be quite a day for raptors (except the ones from Seattle...)

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