Snowy Weather Raptors

Alex LamoreauxBird Sightings, Birding, Migration12 Comments

Between December 3rd and 7th, I spent quite a bit of time hawkwatching on the border of Bedford and Blair Counties. It was very, very cold but raptors were on the move, in very low numbers, but nonetheless, on the move. On December 3rd, I watched a subadult I Bald Eagle fly past the site as well as 6 Red-tailed Hawks. December 4th produced 7 Red-tailed Hawks; 1 Cooper’s Hawk; 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk; and 2 Bald Eagles, 1 subadult III and 1 subadult I. December 5th had 1 Red-tailed Hawk. December 7th was great though, with 6 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Cooper’s Hawk, 1 4th year Bald Eagle, and 1 juvenile Northern Goshawk!

I had been waiting all season for a raelly good look at a goshawk and I finally got it. The goshawk appeared over the trees directly in front of us. It was all tucked up in a fast glide. The bird shot right over our heads, glancing down at us and continued, like a bullet, southward and out of view. That quick look made my day and I still try to relive the moment whenever I look through the photos I took of the bird. Plus, I was able to see all three Accipiters in a matter of three hours that day! There is really something special about being outside on a ridgetop, with snow falling down heavy and seeing a raptor coming towards you, cutting through the snowstorm, it really makes me even more fascinated with these beautiful birds. Below are some photos I took of the various birds I mentioned. In some of the photos you can actually see the snow flakes!

Juvenile Northern Goshawk

Juvenile Northern Goshawk

Juvenile Northern Goshawk

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

4th year Bald Eagle

4th year Bald Eagle

Adult Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk