Date: 11/5/17 6:38 pm From: <sparvophile...> [NEBirds] <NEBirds...> Subject: [NEBirds] Harris's Hawk in Knox County
Driving west from Niobrara on Highway 12 late this afternoon (November 5). At about 4:45 p.m. CST, I found a Harris's Hawk.
The bird was initially perched in a tree just west of Mormon Canal, a short distance north of Hwy 12. I tried to photograph it from the car, then got out and chased it. The bird was reluctant to let me get at all close, and flew back and forth between the trees along the west side of the canal and the ones on the east side of the state-park campground.
I got good looks at it, both perched and in the air. Background color mostly dark brown; lots of rufous in the upperwing linings, visible both on the perched and the flying bird; lots of rufous in the underwing linings visible in flight. Middle portion of tail dark; narrow bright white terminal band; large bright white patch at base of tail, both above and below. Basal two-thirds of bill pale yellow; distal portion bluish.
At the time, I didn't think about the possibility of an escaped falconry bird. However, at no time did I see dangling jesses or other tackle. The bird's unwillingness to let me get a good picture might be weak evidence that it wasn't used to being around people.