[CT Birds] Guilford: Broad-Winged Hawk

Mark Szantyr birdinggeek at gmail.com
Wed Dec 14 17:42:00 EST 2011

Thanks for all the details. Honestly not doubting because i am sure BW is lingering more and more up here.  Just agreeing with jay that documenting this phenomenon would be a good thing for us to do, posterity wise and all. 


On Dec 14, 2011, at 5:32 PM, "Grimm, Chris" <chris.grimm at globepequot.com> wrote:

> Since a few have mentioned Swainson's, I'll just post to everyone,
> instead of continuing to reply individually...
> But first, we're at an odd little location - an office building just off
> of Exit 59 (Goose Lane).  Behind our building is a somewhat rectangular
> pond (Innovation Pond) which is roughly 100 yards by 200 yards.  Two
> sides are bordered with about 20 feet of mowed grass - our building and
> parking lot along part of one long side, with the short mowed side going
> up to a road.  The other two sides are bordered immediately by woods.
> This is a great spot for birding - and unusual citings are common (my
> favorite having been a Golden Eagle a couple of years ago, but I
> digress).
> The hawk was slowly (gingerly) walking from the direction of the pond
> (when spotted) toward the building - geese do this all of the time - but
> odd behavior to see in a hawk (but what I saw was no more than 15 feet
> of walking).  And I would say it was a bit disoriented.  Of course, I
> might just be projecting that state upon the bird because the behavior
> was odd for a hawk.  (We get a lot of hawks here - mostly Red Tails, but
> Osprey, Harriers, etc. - but they tend to perch in the trees along the
> other side of the pond, if they aren't circling.)  I also almost
> immediately wondered if it had hit the windows before ending up on the
> ground.  Anyway, this was directly in front of my window (I am on the
> second of two floors).  
> The hawk then flew maybe 100 yards across the corner of the pond and
> landed in the grass between the pond and the small road.  At this point
> I wondered if it was hurt and unable to do better - but I could not
> actually see where it had landed.  But after maybe 30 seconds it took
> off, flying south to north across the length of the pond and, again,
> directly across my line of vision - maybe 50 feet away - as it ascended
> (giving me a great look at the bottom, to go along with the great look
> at the top, when it was on the grass under my window).
> The bird was initially spotted by a colleague who pointed it out to me
> (and who made the preliminary identification).  I wasn't as immediately
> confident - but after the solid view from above, the solid view from the
> side and below, and a little time to do some research, I concurred.  (My
> colleague was actually even more completely confident after seeing the
> pictures in the link that James sent, of a Broad-winged Hawk in
> Massachusetts in December, 2009.)
> While I am not the most capable birder in the area (nor even in my
> household), here was my thinking.  (Beyond, obviously, looking closely
> at the bird, looking at pictures of other Broad-winged Hawks, and
> recognizing that they are the same.)...
> The pattern and size did it for me - this was a comparatively small
> hawk.  By "pattern" I especially mean the distinct striping on the tail
> and the dominant white underside of the wings that stood out - to me
> those were the 'primary' identifying characteristics.  And as I
> mentioned, it was small, as far as hawks go.  (Given my rudimentary way
> of figuring these things out, my first thought when the bird was pointed
> out in front of my window was "that hawk is small, like a sharpie, but
> it's not (a sharpie)" - it wasn't as small, but certainly closer to a
> sharpie than a red tail, in size.)
> Anyway, I did look at more pix of Swainson's after receiving that
> suggestion for the first time.  I'll put it this way - for the sake of
> argument, if I was to say I was only 99% sure it was a Broad-wing, I
> would say WITH 100% CONFIDENCE that it's NOT a Swainson's, which
> wouldn't have had enough white on the under-wing and which would have
> been larger (probably SUBSTANTIALLY larger) than this bird.  Assuming
> there is a remote chance that it was not a Broad-winged, and it
> absolutely wasn't a Swainson's, I would welcome other thoughts.  (I have
> now also looked at scores of Juvy Red Shoulder pix on the Internet -
> except for the Stoke's picture, they don't have wings as completely
> white, and even theirs is not as white as this one.)
> I don't know what the latest citing of Broad-winged in Connecticut is.
> But when trying to identify visually, that really wasn't part of the
> equation - size, tail markings, and wing markings were - then I went to
> my guide and to the Internet.  Clearly they haven't OFTEN been seen this
> late in New England - but just as clearly they HAVE been seen this late
> in New England.  
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Grimm, Chris 
> Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 10:49 AM
> To: CT Birding List
> Subject: Guilford: Broad-Winged Hawk
> 12/14, 10:30am at Innovation Pond off of Goose Lane. 
> Seems late in season, but... it was on the ground and very close.
> Behavior seemed odd, as it was on the ground and walking toward the
> building (I'd wondered if it had hit the building or was otherwise
> injured), but then it flew to the other side of the lake, eventually
> taking off for good, seeming fine.
> Also two pair of Hooded Mergansers on the pond (in addition to the usual
> Canada Geese and gulls.
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