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