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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. I understand adult female Northern Harriers have darker and more heavily streaked undersides, while immature NOHAs have buffy underside with little to no streaking.  In the photo taken yesterday in NW Missouri, would this be one of those cases where it'd be categorized as an immature/adult female NOHA?


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  2. 3 minutes ago, Birds are cool said:

    That's some discipline! My life list would be about 200 if I did that!

    Perhaps this is an over-simplification, but  I think the distinction here is that I'm a photographer who likes birds.  My main goal is to photograph birds, then identify them later.  In doing so, I'm learning what the birds are, and maybe turning into a quasi-birder? I mean, I've started a list, so...

    As opposed to a birder who takes photos.  They're main goal (correct me if I'm wrong) is to find birds and identify them, perhaps taking photos along the way.  If I unintentionally insulted any birders out there, I apologize.  

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  3. Wait...there's a Lesser Snow Goose?  Dammit.  Plus you made me look up what alula feathers are.

    Thank you very much for the info.  I cut and pasted it into a document so I can forget about it later.  I think without pictures with circles and arrows, I'm just gonna stick with the basic 3 morphs.

    But seriously, you went all out and it's very much appreciated.


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  4. When I post photos of birds to my website, their photo captions always includes a description of the subject.  I try to classify the species, sub-species (if any), scientific name, 4 letter alpha code, color morph (if any), sex (if it can be determined visually), age, etc.  I also do this, but to a lesser extent, when I post bird photos to social media.  

    That being said, how would you classify this bird? Immature (molting)?  First winter?  I know this applies to some birds (like some gulls) but not to others.  I also presume you couldn't determine it's color morph this early.

    Also, I'm much to cheap to subscribe to Birds of the World, so if anyone posted the 7 Snow Goose color morphs (if that's allowed here), I (and probably others as well?) would appreciate it. 

  5. 13 hours ago, Avery said:

    All these Red-tail subspecies and morphology discussions have been extremely helpful, and have sent me into rabbit holes of the confusing history and uncertain future for identifying these birds. Thank you all for providing great detail and insights! Now I’m wanting to go to the plains and get some practice…

    I'll photograph any Red-tailed Hawk that will allow it.  So I've got lots of fodder to supply here.  If it helps other folks, that's great.  For me, most of it is way over my head.  I'll keep posting them up and let the experts haggle over them.

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  6. Seen this afternoon in NW Missouri.  Are the two light gray and white geese about to get landed on, are they young Snow Geese?  If so, would they be goslings?  Or do they lose that name when they grow flight feathers?  Snow Geese returning to Loess Bluffs NWR in mid January is unusual--I assume due to the unusually warm weather.  It would explain why I've never seen young ones there before. 


  7. Sorry to dredge up an old post, but I was wondering if this bird can be narrowed down even further.  We've established it's not a Harlan's, and Eastern RTHAs don't have a dark morph.  That leaves only dark-morph Western RTHA and dark-morph Northern RTHA.  or...dark-morph immature calurus / abieticola.  I'm leaning towards the latter.

  8. 14 minutes ago, Jerry Friedman said:

    I went ahead and put this one on FB.  Mike Borlé asked "just for fun" whether you had any shots of the topside.  They don't have to good, not necessarily even in focus.  (One thing I haven't mentioned is that any shot that shows additional parts of a bird can be helpful.)

    Sorry, no true topside views.  This was as close to that as I could get.


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  9. I'd like to try and determine the sexes of this pair of adult Bald Eagles seen yesterday in Western Iowa.  I know generally speaking,  female Bald Eagles are typically larger than males.  Females also tend to have a larger bill.  The one farther from the viewer measures longer.  However, the one closer to the viewer appears "bulkier".  It could also be how they are perched, with one seemingly more erect and the other slouching.  Based on bill size alone, I'm going with the one perched on the thicker part of the branch as the female.  Too tough to call, or just a waste of time?


  10. With the recent spat of RTHA identification help I've been receiving here, I'm inspired to resume digging into my vast archives for other unidentified RTHAs.  This pic was taken in Western Iowa back in March 2021.  Is it a light-morph adult Western Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus) ?


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