Yesterday I travelled to the HK burn area in Morrow Co., having been lured
by an intriguing e-Bird list from November 18th, where the observers
encountered a gathering of 21 Black-backed Woodpeckers and 3 American
Three-toeds. That list is here: https://ebird.org/checklist/S61573270.
Alas, I failed to locate a single woodpecker species. Anywhere. It was a
decidedly un-birdy day for me.
However, I did stumble across what is perhaps a Northern Goshawk? And I
was hoping folks would be willing to share their thoughts. I have two poor
pics attached. The lighter of the two is the best; I included the second
because it captures the shape of the bird, which to me seemed rather
long-necked with a broad head.
Initially, the bird was perched atop a medium-sized snag, near the road on
the edge of a small clearing in the forest. It was backlit, but seemed
nearly the size of a Red-Tail. My first two observations (without bins)
were its distinct whitish supercilium and its very heavily, thick-streaked
underparts. A somewhat pale nape, but the heavy streaking ran pretty much
the entire length of the bird, and was a striking field mark to me, as it
was quite different than anything I'm familiar with. Because the bird was
facing me, I could not see its tail. Of course it took flight as I reached
for my bins.
It was difficult to observe anything about its flight, as it moved low,
behind the tree tops. My vague impression was stiff wing beats like a
Cooper's Hawk, but slower, but my experience with those is quite limited.
It flew a few hundred feet to the pictured perch. What leads me to think it
could be a juvenile Goshawk are the uneven tail-bands, which you can see
pretty well in the better pic, and the distance between the primaries and
the tail tip, along with that supercilium and thickly streaked belly. And
that I *want *it to be a Goshawk, truth be told. So I thought I'd see what
more experienced birders have to say.
Thanks and good birding,
Dr. Rebecca Hartman
Associate Professor of History
Eastern Oregon University
*The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to
grow sharper.”*― Eden Phillpotts