[CT Birds] Unique Hawk in Norwalk

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 28 18:47:50 EDT 2015

There are a couple possibilities. One (probably the most likely) is an aberrant Red-tailed Hawk showing the partial lack of pigment known as leucism ( as opposed to total lack of pigment - albinism). Red-taileds have a long history of this aberrance, sometimes appearing almost all white and touching off false alarms about white Gyrfalcons.
Another possibility is a Red-shouldered Hawk with plumage unusually pale on worn. I recall one bird like this from CT that was thought might be the very pale Florida form of Red-shouldered, but eventually raptor experts opined that northern birds can occasionally look like this. This comes to mind for me because I happened to see an imm RS within the past week that had a very white-headed appearance, especially at first glance at a little distance.
Greg HanisekWaterbury 

     On Monday, September 28, 2015 6:15 PM, Mike VanValen via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:

  This morning in Norwalk I saw a hawk which defied anything I've ever seen. At first I thought it was a red-tailed, but when it came into view (it was flying eye level through Union Cemetery, Ward street side) I saw that it had an almost clean white head, white underside (with sparse brown streaking), and very light brown back/upper wings. I unfortunately could not see much of the tail, but it appeared dark. The bird landed on a low branch and it's white head was very noticeable. I don't even want to venture a guess, but maybe this description fits something familiar to more experiences birders.
Mike Van Valen, Norwalk

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