[CT Birds] dark Buteo I-691

CTHiker20 at aol.com CTHiker20 at aol.com
Mon Feb 22 16:06:58 EST 2010

Hi Greg,
   I saw the hawk this afternoon on my way home from work,a very  nice 
bird. However it is a completely different hawk than the Rough-legged Hawk  I 
saw on Saturday .I have only seen the Rough-legged once but the dark Red-tail  
several times,which has been hanging around in that area for at least a  
Aaron Barriger Rockfall
In a message dated 2/22/2010 3:45:20 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
ctgregh at yahoo.com writes:

There  have been a few reports recently of a dark Buteo along Interstate 
691 in the  vicinity of the Cheshire-Meriden line, not a great place to stop 
and get good  looks. I was passing through there this afternoon and happened 
upon the bird  perched along the eastbound lanes. It's an adult dark 
Red-tailed Hawk,  which gave me excellent views both perched and in flight. I was 
able to pull  over on the wide, flat paved shoulder (not necessarily 
recommended) and  observe the bird through binoculars at pretty close range. It's a 
stunning  creature with a strong rufous wash across its breast. It fits what 
former  Connecticut resident and N.A. raptor expert Brian Wheeler terms a 
"dark  intermediate (dark rufous) morph" in his beautifully photo-illustrated 
 "Raptors of Eastern North America." Don't be misled by the book's title. 
This  is in no way a stock-issue bird of the East. It's a "Western" 
Red-tailed Hawk  (Buteo jamaicensis calurus), usually found no farther east
than the states  just east of the Mississippi R. In 50+ years of birding (I 
started really  young :) ) I've only seen 2 in the East - one in eastern 
Pennsylvania and this  one. I missed the dark Red-tail seen by a number of 
observers last winter  along I-91 in the Wallingford area, but given the form's 
rarity here I suspect  this is the same bird.

Greg  Hanisek
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