Ask SIB – What Hawk am I?

SIB recently got an email from the Guy & Judy Gimson asking for help to identify the hawk in their photos.

Immature hawks are very challenging to identify.  However, after searching for photos and drawings in at least a half dozen bird guides, I had a guess.  But to be sure, I went to Aaron Given, Assistant Wildlife Biologist of Kiawah Island.  Below is his response:

“I believe you are correct with Red-shouldered Hawk.  Juvenile hawks can be tough but one thing that can be helpful is eye color.  If it were a Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk the eye would be bright yellow.  In other buteos, the eye is a dull green/yellow color.  Another thing to look at is the wing length.  Accipiters have relatively short wings and buteos have longer wings.  Aaron”

How did you do?  If you have a photo of a bird you can’t identify, feel free to send it to us!  Or, download the Merlin ID app, where you can upload a photo, answer a few questions, and it will present you with likely bird species. In fact, I loaded the first photo and Merlin ID suggested a Red-shouldered Hawk, with the second choice being a bird which would be rare in our area at this time, a Broad-winged Hawk.

Submitted by:  Nancy Brown
Photos by:  Guy & Judy Gimson