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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bluebirds and Buteos

This morning we went for a drive to the north side of the small town we live near. It is farming country with wide, open fields, and we thought we might find some hawks here. The first birds we saw were little ones, so exciting to see. I counted ten bluebirds sitting on the fence posts and strands of wire. There could have been more. We pulled over to the shoulder, and I got out to take a few pictures. They didn't seem to mind me, as long as I didn't get too close, and if I did, they flew to another fence post further along the line. But, every time a vehicle went by, they flew away and afterward came back again. They did this over and over. Fortunately, there were not many vehicles. The male bluebirds stole the show, as I wasn't able to get any good photos of the females. Maybe next time. . . 

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Mountain Bluebird Sialia currucoides
Male

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The hawks were hovering over the fields, and we saw one perched in a poplar tree. This is the one I tried to get close enough to photograph. I think he or she was watching me "like a hawk". I'm far from being an expert at identifying these birds, but from my bird book and the internet I have it narrowed down to one - the Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus. Now, I could be completely wrong about which hawk this is, so I'd appreciate a "thumbs up" or "help". This is how I identified the hawk:
  1. long white tail with dark band or bands.
  2. hawk of open country.
  3. often hovers while hunting.
  4. one of the hawks of our region.
  5. And this from the Boreal Birds website - "this hawk can be identified by the way it perches: balancing precariously on the most slender twigs at the top of a tree."