Broad-winged Hawk – 9/3/14

Broad-winged Hawk in Pine Island NY, 9/3/14.
Broad-winged Hawk in Pine Island NY, 9/3/14.

I had an interesting and fun experience in Pine Island yesterday afternoon watching a young Broad-winged Hawk hunt for insects. The bird was either unaware of my presence (I was using my car as a blind), or just didn’t care. Very close by, the hawk successfully hunted for about a half dozen insects, each of which the bird dismantled and patiently ate. While I was watch ing the bird in the field, I was pretty sure it was a Broad-winged Hawk. But, then when I got home and I thought about doing a post with the photos, I started to ask myself  – “why is this a Broad-winged and not a Red-shouldered Hawk?” Thinking about it, probably the main reason I was thinking BWHA was the size of the bird. To me, the bird appeared small in size – likely the smallest buteo that I have ever seen perched. The hawk’s behavior was another reason; a BWHA hunting insects in a field made sense to me, though I’m not sure why, perhaps Red-shouldered Hawks are just as likely to do this? I also think that at some level I was thinking about the fact that BWHAs are just starting to migrate through our area. For me to post about this bird, I needed to have a more positive identification, so I did a google search and found a very useful comparison of juvenile Broad-winged and Red-shouldered Hawks, provided by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. The following photos illustrate some of the field marks exhibited by this bird that lead me to believe that the bird is indeed a Broad-winged Hawk:

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According to the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Raptor ID Series, juvenile Broad-winged Hawks have a malar mark on the cheek and a pale bluish spot on the lower part of the upper mandible. I can see the bluish spot clearly, and I guess the dark area that starts at the base of the bill and goes down and away is the malar mark. Click on the link to see the comparison between the two hawks more clearly.
Again,
Again, according to the IWRC Raptor ID Series, juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks have a reddish panel in the primaries, while Broad-winged Hawks do not.
Fin
And, finally, and also according to the IWRC Raptor ID Series, the markings on the underside of the wing are consistent with a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk: narrow dark bars across the secondaries and inner primaries. Check the link to see how the underwing compares to that of a RSHA.

I guess the bird had eaten enough and it flew (not very far!), and perched in a tree on the roadside:

BWHA in Pine Island, 9/3/14.
BWHA in Pine Island, 9/3/14.

A few more shots of the bird:

BWHA hunting insects. I'm still not sure what the insects were. Pine Island, 9/3/14.
BWHA hunting insects. I’m still not sure what the insects were. Pine Island, 9/3/14.
Eating bugs can be a messy business. BWHA in Pine Island, NY  9/3/14.
Eating bugs can be a messy business. BWHA in Pine Island, NY 9/3/14.
Broad-winged Hawk in flight. Pine Island, NY 9/3/14.
Broad-winged Hawk in flight. Pine Island, NY 9/3/14.

10 thoughts on “Broad-winged Hawk – 9/3/14”

  1. This is a young Broad-winged based on shape, tail pattern, and breast streaking (not to mention you’d probably see the “commas” in the spread wing shots)…great photos and a cool experience!

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