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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. There are three very dark brown buteos consistently seen at Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri lately.  I've submitted two of them here for identification--both were ID'd as dark morph Harlan's RTHA.  This is the third dark buteo, seen yesterday.  Based on the lack of, what I call "white splotches or polka dots", I believe this bird is an immature dark morph Red-tailed Hawk, and not a Harlan's RTHA.  Am I  correct?  I have plenty of shots from every angle, if additional pics are needed.   




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  2. Spotted this (taiga) Merlin yesterday afternoon in NW Missouri.  Despite the blue sky background, the sun had gone behind a cloud resulting in underexposed pics.  Even after brightening up in post processing, I'm not certain if the upper wing and tail feathers are slate gray or dark brown.  Are those the only distinguishing features between a male and female Taiga Merlin?





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  3. The Bald Eagle link you provided is the best I've seen so far.  Thank you very much Meghann.  

    As a follow-up question, has anyone ever referred to young Bald Eagles as sub-adults?  I don't think it's an officially recognized term, but I've used it on occasion, to describe immature Bald Eagles that show most of the visible features of an adult.  I reserve it's use to 3 1/2+ year old birds with mostly white head and tail feathers.

  4. Someone already explained this to me a while back, but unfortunately it didn't stick (I forgot).  I would call this an immature Bald Eagle, but have seen it also called a juvenile.  I'm guilty of this myself.  Both terms seem to be used interchangeably, but I know one is technically correct.  Can someone please explain, in simple terms, what the difference is, which one would be (more) correct for this young eagle, and why?  Maybe provide a couple of examples, so maybe the info will stick this time.  Although this is still kind of an ID question, moderators, please move this post to a different section, if appropriate.


  5. This Northern Rough-legged Hawk was seen Monday and Tuesday at Loess Bluffs NWR near Mound City, MO.  Can it be further identified beyond RLHA, by date/location if it is an adult or juvenile bird?  Can it's gender and/or color morph be identified by plumage alone?  I don't believe there are subspecies to Rough-legged Hawks, but I'd love to be able to further identify if it's an adult or a juvenile, male or female, and light or dark morph.  Although many birders would be satisfied with just the basic ID, I obsess over trying to identify subspecies, etc., especially buteos.  Based on eye color alone, I'd guess this is probably a juvenile.  If it helps with identification, I have upper side shots as well, but they're much farther away and less detailed.


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