Sunday, August 28, 2011

Harris's Hawk

Although they don't often stray outside of Southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, the Harris's Hawk is still a common and pleasing sighting in the area. Their darker coloration, dark eyes, and rusty shoulders make them immediately recognizable, as does their proportionately longer beak. They can be seen hunting and socializing in small groups (I've seen 3 together at times), and have a very raspy, drawn out call which they seem to vocalize more often than other raptors.
The Harris's Hawk is a buteo (contrast with an accipiter like the Cooper's), which means it has longer and broader wings relative to its body size that help it glide with minimal exertion.

 It's hard to catch the brown eye with all the dark of the head.

Would that we all could scratch our backs so easily.
I love the eyebrows here, and the slight sense of indignation at having someone taking pictures of his undersides.

This Harris's Hawk Was a good 80 feet away, at the top of a very tall palm tree. It was exceedingly bright out as well, but even without the ideal conditions this was still a neat experience. It was very windy and you can see him catching the thermals to rise up without even beating his wings.
 Here you can see the whites on the tail, both at the base and the tip. With the yellows legs and beak, rusty shoulders and thighs, and dark wings, the Harris' Hawk has got to be one of the more intricately colored raptors in North America.

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