Date: 9/3/19 8:54 pm
From: Dave Hyde <pink-beam...>
Subject: RE: [cobirds] Red Legged Raptor? Help.
Maybe it was a Ferruginous hawk? My field guides show these as having reddish feathers over the legs and they are about the same size as a raven. Good luck figuring it out – Dave Hyde/nr Drake, Larimer Cty

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________________________________
From: <cobirds...> <cobirds...> on behalf of Glenn Elmore <glenn.e.elmore...>
Sent: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 6:16:34 PM
To: <cobirds...> <cobirds...>
Subject: [cobirds] Red Legged Raptor? Help.

About 9 AM this morning while driving through an intersection between Fort Collins and Windsor, just east of where Harmony Rd crosses I25, I saw what I would describe as a hawk, certainly a raptor, approximately raven-sized. I saw it fly upwards from near ground and perch on a light standard in bright sun, so I got a brief view of both the underside as well as of side,back and legs. My very first thought was that it was a Swainson's but it was too small. I actually stopped for 3-4 seconds in the intersection to observe it but had to leave to keep from blocking traffic.

While it flew, I believe I saw an un-banded tail underside, the back half dark with the front part lighter. When it perched I could see that the back, sides and tail were generally brownish with only a little variation. The under-wings were also bi-color, with perhaps 30% dark on the leading edge and the rest lighter with maybe a little checkering, though I'm not very sure of this.

What stood out to me was that as I looked at it perched the legs were red. Not just the feet either, on up for 2-3 inches where they were lost in body feathers. I regret that I couldn't take a picture because I was in the middle of the intersection and couldn't quickly get a shot.

As I'm no more than an average birder without good observational skills and relatively new to Colorado I thought "I'll look when I get home to see what it could have been" but upon coming home and looking, nothing makes sense. I have seen several species of hawks and falcons in western states, including various juveniles and morphs but nothing I can remember that has red legs.

Can anyone help me with what this may have been?

Glenn Elmore
Fort Collins

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