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Thread: Raptors - Soldotna Area

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    Default Raptors - Soldotna Area

    I've had a medium sized bird (~16-18"long) hanging around the house today, but I haven't been able to get a good profile view (or pictures). The closest thing in my bird book is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk, yet the size seems bigger than the book's description [10-14"length]. It has grey and black horizontal bars on the back of its tail-feathers, with a slight white margin separating them. The two times it flew by the window I've been sitting in front of- my first impression was one of an owl, but then I had a good long look at the back of its body as it perched on an aspen branch behind the house. It took off and headed for the ground back in the woods. There are lots of rabbits around (and some squirrel)- It may be feeding on a kill. Any thoughts?

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    Member aksheephuntress's Avatar
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    ...sounds perhaps like a Northern Harrier........
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  3. #3

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    Hey Porter, sounds like it could have been a northern hawk owl (see link below). Unlikely to be a sharpshin as they are very small and very sparse in winter. Northern harriers returned from the winter migration out yet.



    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=...bac56246434a91

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    Default betcha it's a hawk owl, but it could be a sharpie.

    migrants are beginning to show up on the bluff, we saw a peregrine today on the way home from town, so sharpies could be showing up for sure.
    the female sharpies are nearly as big as the male goshawks, so there can be some confusion there.
    marsh hawks (harriers) are pretty big birds, and fairly unusual here.
    here is a pic of a hawk owl....
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    migrants are beginning to show up on the bluff, we saw a peregrine today on the way home from town, so sharpies could be showing up for sure.
    the female sharpies are nearly as big as the male goshawks, so there can be some confusion there.
    marsh hawks (harriers) are pretty big birds, and fairly unusual here.
    here is a pic of a hawk owl....
    Dave, you have a pretty good population of peregrines year round in the Homer area. They nest across the bay (Halibut Cove side) and all around the horn toward Seward as well as the Chugach Islands. Also, I think it's hard to confuse a female sharpshin with a male goshawk as the male gos is almost 3 times as big. If you only got a glimpse.....maybe. But you're right it could be sharpie, they are migrating now and some even over winter in Alaska if they have a bird feeder or two to work over. FYI, a male gos weighs almost twice as much as a harrier. Curious what other raptors have you seen lately? Know where any goshawks nest down that way?

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    yep, i know we have year-round peregrines, but where i saw the one yesterday was on the bluff migration updraft... the same place we saw an osprey a couple years ago. seeing falcons on the spit or at china poot is cool, but i expect them there.
    folks who know raptors are not likely to confuse a big sharpie and a small gos, but it could happen... just sayin'.
    and comparing a harrier to a sharpie or a hawk-owl... they are bigger. not talking what they weight sitting on the scale, but how they appear to a layman.
    not sure where that big chicken-killing gos of ours nests, but if i find out i'll let you know... if you promise to take her too. <GRIN>
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    I'm no closer to a definitive ID! Wish I had a better look at the front end!
    The goshawk in my book has little similarity, though the tail feathers *do* approximate the top drawing of this picture: http://pages.cthome.net/rwinkler/audubon_goshawk.jpg
    and this image:
    http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/i...tom-munson.jpg
    It would have been a small goshawk, and much more light gray body than most of the pictures I've looked at.

    The hawk owl doesn't look to have the same bar pattern on the tail as the one I observed- bars/bands are wider and more distinct.

    Not sure about the harrier, it has the right body color, but lacks the bar/banded tail.

    Small goshawk or large sharpie I guess!

  8. #8

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    Dave, I've been out busting snowshoe trails through the woods around Anchorage for the last few weeks looking for and calling for goshawks. I'm looking for a new hunting partner. I've had several come in to see me but have not discovered any active nests. They will be on eggs just after mid-April so your local female should be out of your hair soon.

    Porter, my first thought when you posted up was goshawk, but when you said alternating white bands I knew it wouldn't be a gos. That photo you posted up is a juvenile plumaged female having brown feathers. They will have gray feathers in their second season onward. Much like this female gos:
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    haven't seen her lately, chickens are still inside so no love to be had here yet. i am sure she will show up when we have pullets and she has little ones. how about a beacon on a pullet, she will lead you home....
    in another raptor note, back in our big blizzard a few weeks ago a friend of mine brought in a saw-whet off his porch for a warm up, fed it a little raw chicken and let it go. turned out to be banded, and when he punched in the numbers he found out it had been caught in colorado!!!
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    It surely had white margins (between the bands of grey and black).
    The image you posted is a very similar grey tone to the one I observed.


    Quote Originally Posted by OATS View Post
    Dave, I've been out busting snowshoe trails through the woods around Anchorage for the last few weeks looking for and calling for goshawks. I'm looking for a new hunting partner. I've had several come in to see me but have not discovered any active nests. They will be on eggs just after mid-April so your local female should be out of your hair soon.

    Porter, my first thought when you posted up was goshawk, but when you said alternating white bands I knew it wouldn't be a gos. That photo you posted up is a juvenile plumaged female having brown feathers. They will have gray feathers in their second season onward. Much like this female gos:

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