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Greenesnake

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  1. Sorry, I got locked out of my account and just got back This bird for me is just a lightly colored juvenile Red-tail that's most likely just an Eastern borealis, on the light end of the spectrum. It's too heavily marked below to be a pure Krider's.
  2. I agree that this looks better for a dark morph, non Harlan's, Red-tailed. Any flight shots of the underwing with the wings up?
  3. Dark or intermediate morph Harlan's and the tail is certainly within the range for that. Cool bird!
  4. The eye color on a Red-tailed Hawk turns dark gradually as they reach adulthood. So a bird can be fully molted into adult plumage but still have light eyes. If a Red-tail has dark eyes then its an adult. If it has light eyes it could either be a juvenile or a young adult.
  5. I agree that this bird is likely a Red-tailed and that is definitely the case if that is indeed the tail we're seeing on the right side that's brick red. It's an unusual looking bird to be sure but I can't make it into anything but a Red-tailed.
  6. Gorgeous adult light morph Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk or possibly Harlan's intergrade (based on the red, banded tail) earlier this week in Crockett County, Tennessee.
  7. The birds with extensive white streaking on the breast, including the original bird in question, are intermediate morph Harlan's. The very dark Harlan's that was stated to have been photographed about 10 miles away from the original bird is certainly a dark morph bird. As Alex stated above there is quite a range even within subspecies like Harlan's. Some authors break it down even further and describe the intermediate morphs as "dark intermediate morph", "light intermediate morph", etc. The last hawk photo submitted in this thread is a juvenile bird and with the amount of spangling below I'd also call it an intermediate morph Harlan's.
  8. Definitely a Northern RTHA (abieticola) on bird #1. Bird #2 looks fine for a young adult borealis, likely a breeder from the northern part of their range.
  9. Gorgeous adult intermediate morph Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk.
  10. This bird has a red tail and dark eyes so it's certainly an adult bird. I would lean slightly towards a heavily marked borealis for this particular bird. I find that *most* abieticola have dark or mostly dark throats. However, the patagials are very thick on this bird; thicker than seen on the majority of borealis. I personally would probably leave this as simply Red-tailed Hawk, subspecies unknown.
  11. @Jerry Friedman Thanks for the welcome! Based on the info from Brian Sullivan that I posted above in this thread and discussions with several other experienced experts on social media groups, I would personally report both their birds as calurus/abieticola.
  12. In West Tennessee we have found that abieticola is the 2nd most encountered subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk, behind only borealis. I have researched the photos in eBird reported as calurus or calurus/alscensis here and have found no legit records of light morph individuals of those here. It certainly stands to reason that the dark and dark rufous morph Red-tails that we get that are not Harlan's would be abieticola instead of calurus and we are now encouraging the birders here that encounter dark, dark rufous morph, and intermediate morph Red-tails as calurus/abieticola instead of calurus or calurus/alascensis, based on that email from Brian. I don't think that it's that dark morphs of abieticola are exceptionally rare, it's just that we've always assumed that they were calurus until recent years. As in Red-tails in general, even within abieticola there appears to be a great deal of variability and we encounter some light morphs of that subspecies that are heavily marked with white breasts, some that are heavily marked with a rufous wash on the breast, some that are moderately marked with white breasts, some that are moderately marked with rufous washed breasts and everything in between.
  13. This is an email that raptor expert Brian Sullivan (one of the developers of the Raptor ID app) sent out to all of us eBird reviewers back in 2018 regarding abieticola and non-Harlan's dark morph Red-tails in the eastern United States: Red-tailed Hawk subspecies are a quagmire, but we do our best to try to allow people to report distinctive individuals in eBird. The subspecies abieticola was described in 1950 by W. E. Todd and further supported by a peer-reviewed paper from Dickerman and Parkes (1987). Jerry Liguori and I published an article in Birding recently about this taxon, the introduction of which is pasted below: "During migration and winter across the central and eastern Lower 48, heavily marked Red-tailed Hawks cause confusion for many birders. In most cases these birds are identified as Western Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis calurus). But in 1950, W. E. Clyde Todd described a new subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk in his paper “A Northern Race of Red-tailed Hawk”, which differed from typical Eastern Red-tailed Hawk (B. j. borealis) in having more richly colored underparts, a dark throat, and a heavy bellyband. Todd named this subspecies abieticola (ab-i-et-i-ko-la), reportedly meaning “dweller of the firs”. Despite a well-researched paper, the subspecies did not receive wide recognition. A follow-up paper by Dickerman and Parkes (1987) supported the validity of Todd’s research, and provided a more comprehensive comparison between abieticola, Eastern, and Western Red-tailed Hawks. Dickerman and Parkes stated: “This is the breeding race of the spruce-fir belt of Canada west to Alberta.” Dickerman and Parkes reviewed claims of Western Red-tailed Hawks from the Northeast and found that all purported calurus were actually well marked examples of abieticola. Likewise, we propose that most heavily marked Red-tailed Hawks occurring from the Great Lakes through the Northeast region in migration and winter are abieticola." For what it's worth, I am currently reworking Systematics section of Red-tailed Hawk in BNA, and it will recognize abieticola moving forward. If one recognizes any subspecies of Red-tailed Hawk, one must recognize abieticola. Characters mix across all races, and there are many intermediates, but typical abieticola individuals are fairly straightforward. We also suspect now that dark/rufous morphs occur in this northern race, and that most (all) reported calurus dark/rufous morphs east of the Great Plains pertain to this form. We've added a 'Slash' option to eBird to accommodate this uncertainty, so birders can report these as 'calurus/abieticola' for now. They can do that too for heavily marked light morphs, if they wish. Here's an article on the subspecies in general: https://northernredtails.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/rth_aabieticiola_north_american_birds_march_2014.pdf
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