Earlier today, I posted about my very fortunate encounter with a hawk in the Nebraska Sandhills. At the time I took the photos, a couple biologists with me identified the bird as a juvenile ferruginous hawk, and I (being mostly a bug and flower kind of guy) went along happily with their identification. After I posted the photos, however, several people correctly pointed out the features that indicate that it was actually a juvenile red-tailed hawk. I’ve edited the post to reflect the correct identification and added a brief clarification as well.
Thank you to those of you who responded (and did so politely!) to let me know of the error. Although I’m pretty good at identifying most prairie birds, I have certainly never claimed to be an expert at hawks, especially the buteos (broad-winged soaring hawks). In fact, and this is particularly ironic, because of the abundance of red-tailed hawks around here, I usually just call everything a red-tailed hawk unless it’s clearly a Swainson’s or rough-legged hawk, because those are the only other two I can identify!
Here is an additional photo of the RED-TAILED HAWK. Regardless of species, it was a pretty amazing experience to get so close to such a large and beautiful bird.