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I am familiar with most birds in Texas but this one has me stumped. It was fall, late afternoon. Near the Trinity River. Large raptor more of a uniformed heather/light gray in appearance. Thick and powerfully built but with an impressive wingspan. I've seen herons and buzzards all my life, I know 5-6+ wingspans. This bird had them beat. It came out of nowhere and maneuvered between me and a home, near a 6 foot window and 7 foot door, wings span and was easily closer to 8 feet. i saw it at a distance of maybe 12 feet from me. I was maybe 20 feet from the window. I saw it for maybe 2-3 seconds and then disappeared through the trees. I was in awe and then thought of the eagles throwing goats from the cliffs.

I used to do ornithological impact studies for wind turbine placement and am familiar with pretty much every bird here in Texas. I have identified it as a raptor. Obviously due to wing shape, size, flight pattern/undulation, speed, and agility. Just not sure which one, though. I have ruled out other large birds. I know cranes, egrets, waterfowl, owls, osprey, vultures, caracara. Falcons and most hawks are too small. This thing was easily twice the size as the largest hawks I've seen. I'm leaning towards an eagle just due to mass, but the plumage has me confused... 

Thoughts... 

 

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Can you describe the wing shape, flight pattern, etc that makes you think raptor? My first thought was Turkey Vulture as they do that all the time at my house, as in, flying low over the ground closer to my windows. Also, based on the description of it being very close to the windows, it's super easy to think a bird is huge from a house as opposed to out in the field where there are no really familiar references to look at. I notice this phenomenon a lot myself with easy to ID birds like harriers. 

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20 minutes ago, Melierax said:

My first thought was Turkey Vulture as they do that all the time at my house,

Maybe time to give the place a good airing out?  I think Febreeze is on sale this week.

  • Haha 2

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Posted (edited)

I think it was a Bird of Washington.

Seriously, size and lighting can be deceptive, but assuming it was that big and that color, my best guess would be a Golden Eagle or young Bald Eagle with abnormally light-colored, "dilute" plumage.

It's not impossible for a California Condor to show up in Texas, or for a Lammergeier or something to escape from a zoo.

Edited by Jerry Friedman

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Posted (edited)

I was thinking Vulture as well, but Golden Eagles also have large wingspans too

Edited by Sean C

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