ChickenDinner

This bold bird likes Chicken for dinner.

11 posts in this topic

I have looked through several pictures and websites trying to identify this eastern southern Oregon hawk. A little smaller than our common redtails maybe it is a juvenile? I apologise for the bad pics. I took them on my cell phone from about 10 feet. It is quite bold and confident. It let's me approach to within about 10 feet before flapping off a little ways and glaring at me for disrupting whatever it was doing and as soon as I leave it comes right back. Sunday it killed and ate one of our chicks in the front yard. I've named it Chicken for now. I will try to get good pics of it with a regular camera as soon as the weather clears a bit and I see the hawk hanging out again. Thanks :)

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You do, in fact have a chicken hawk! A commonly used misnomer for a red tailed hawk. and this is a juvenile, which are actually a tad bigger than adults (baby fat)

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Technically, this is actually an Immature Red-tailed Hawk. Juvenile refers to a birds first set of feathers, which would only occur in the nest for these guys. Immatures are the same size as adults when they leave the nest, but size can always be difficult to judge in the field.

Welcome to Whatbird, ChickenDinner!

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I've heard that chicken hawk is a name, that encompasses Cooper's, Red-shouldered, and Red-tailed Hawks.

I agree that this is a Red-tailed Hawk, for the reasons stated above. Welcome to Whatbird!

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Actually, this is a juvenile. Juvenile refers to the first non-downy feathers, and hawks keep their juvenile feathers for their first year. (Some of the larger ones can keep juvenile flight feathers for 2 or even 3 years)

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Actually, this is a juvenile. Juvenile refers to the first non-downy feathers, and hawks keep their juvenile feathers for their first year. (Some of the larger ones can keep juvenile flight feathers for 2 or even 3 years)

This one has always bugged me. Correct me if I'm wrong Psweet, but don't Buteos begin a formative molt at the end of their first summer? I know that they retain their juvenal flight feathers for at least a year, but many of the body feathers are replaced in their incomplete formative molt, beginning around September, right? I've seen different sources refer to these birds as "juvenile" or "immature," but in a strict since shouldn't it technically be in immature plumage once it molts in some of its second set of non-downy feathers?

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Hmm... I don't have my books here, BillyPilgrim. I'll have to get back to you on that molt. If so, it does highlight the question of when we abandon the term juvenile for the whole bird -- when the molt starts, when it ends, etc....

I suppose I'd have done better saying that he's still got juvenile feathers.

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Hmm... I don't have my books here, BillyPilgrim. I'll have to get back to you on that molt. If so, it does highlight the question of when we abandon the term juvenile for the whole bird -- when the molt starts, when it ends, etc....

I suppose I'd have done better saying that he's still got juvenile feathers.

Yeah, those terms get pretty convoluted. The way I've always thought of it was that a bird is a Juvenile in its first full set of feathers, then becomes an Immature (or subadult) once it begins molting into an intermediate plumage (be it formative, basic I, alternative I etc), and finally becomes an adult once its molted fully into a Definitive Basic or Alternative plumage. Problem is, the birds don't always like to make it easy on us and choose difficult to describe molt strategies!

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Thank you every one for helping me identify my dinner guest. Now if I can just convince him/her to please leave the chickens alone! Lol, I know it wont happen so time for the dinner survivors to be penned up. :)

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Well, BillyPilgrim, I checked, and boy, was that a mistake! :P

Turns out many hawks do have a pre-formative molt, but for most species Pyle lists it as "absent-limited"! (That includes Red-tails, by the way.) It also turns out that the timing of that molt, if it occurs, varies pretty widely by species, with some starting before fall migration, some afterwards. In Red-tails, it's typically after migration. Given when juveniles migrate, this guy, if he's going to undergo that molt at all, should be well along.

At this point, I think I'm ready to just throw up my hands and stop worrying about how I use that term for the bird as a whole. (Still works great for plumages and individual feathers, though.)

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