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Got it, thanks.  Flight characteristics resemble the Turkey Vulture according to All About Birds.  I had quite a number of turkey vultures circling the backyard this morning.

 

Texas Turkey Vulture

 

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2 hours ago, blackburnian said:

Agree with ZT Hawk. Much more exciting than a vulture in my opinion! 

I agree that the Zone-tailed Hawk is more exciting than the Turkey Vulture.  I see the vulture on an almost daily basis.  The hawk is a new addition to my very short life list.  The problem was that I had ten or twelve birds in a column circling my backyard.  What do I shoot with my camera?  I shoot the odd one.  I think there were two hawks in the column.   

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3 hours ago, TexasCobra said:

I agree that the Zone-tailed Hawk is more exciting than the Turkey Vulture.  I see the vulture on an almost daily basis.  The hawk is a new addition to my very short life list.  The problem was that I had ten or twelve birds in a column circling my backyard.  What do I shoot with my camera?  I shoot the odd one.  I think there were two hawks in the column.   

Zone-taileds are notorious for their vulture impressions, but with enough time in the right place, one will show eventually. 

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18 minutes ago, blackburnian said:

Zone-taileds are notorious for their vulture impressions, but with enough time in the right place, one will show eventually. 

And mixing in and circling with them too.

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21 minutes ago, birdbrain22 said:

And mixing in and circling with them too.

Absolutely! It's actually so annoying how similar they look. You essentially have to double check every single TUVU you see if ZTHA is also to be expected

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, TexasCobra said:

OK, Tony LeukeringHow do you intend for your post to be helpful in identifying the bird in the photo?  Previous posts establish that the Zone-tailed Hawk is the bird in question.  Those previous posts also establish that the Zone-tailed Hawk is often misidentified as a Turkey Vulture and that the ZTH will join a column of Turkey Vultures.  

His comment seemed more than relevant to the ID and seems intended to help you and others on the forum accurately identify Zone-tailed Hawks/vultures in the future. Didn’t seem inappropriate to me. 

Edited by Aveschapines
To remove moderated content from quoted post.
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Folks, please review the forum rules at the top of each page. The forums are not the place for criticizing other users or airing personal grievances. 

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On 6/10/2020 at 4:53 PM, TexasCobra said:

The problem was that I had ten or twelve birds in a column circling my backyard.  What do I shoot with my camera?  I shoot the odd one

To paraphrase the old military adage, "Shoot 'em all; let Whatbird sort 'em out!"

If you're using a film camera, I can see influencing your decision about which individual birds to photograph.  If digital, why not shoot all of them?  If they all turn out to be TUVUs, it's easy enough to throw them away.

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Posted (edited)

The primary difficulty beginning birders (and some others) have is focusing on a single character to ID an unknown bird. The point of my previous comment was to point out the need to look at the whole bird, not just that the plumage is mostly black or blackish. The white tail bands on Zone-tailed usually provide the easiest differentiator between vultures and Zone-tailed Hawk.

In bird ID, simply finding a character or characters that match for a particular species is not enough. Once one has a tentative ID, one then needs to rule out all other possibilities. One does that by looking for other features that can effect that ruling in or ruling out.

For those on this forum that don't care to learn, that's fine. I've always said that birding is a great hobby as participants can do what they want with it. If one wants just to enjoy the chickadees and other birds that come to backyard feeders, that's fine. If one wants to see 9000 species of birds, that's fine. If one wants to become the acknowledged expert on the foraging behavior of parulid warblers, that's fine. Birding can encompass those and an infinite number of other personal takes on the birding hobby.

Personally, I think that the very best part of birding, is learning new things. And there's always something new to learn, no matter how expert one becomes in the hobby. Thus, I don't understand birders that are not inquisitive, do not care to learn at their every opportunity. I understand that they exist, but it is so far outside my ken, my personal joie de vivre. That's one of the reasons that I'm also "into" dragonflies and butterflies and moths and tiger beetles and robber flies and whatever. Learning, to me, is the single best aspect of being alive.

Edited by Tony Leukering
clarification, addition
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From my limited exposure to @Tony Leukering via this forum I'd have to say he leans toward being a perfectionist and by his own admission isn't satisfied with 'good enough' - which although it pokes people's buttons from time to time is also what lends weight and credibility to his comments which so many of us value. 

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