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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 10:45 AM
Original message
15 hawks flying circles above our neighborhood
It's quite common to see solitary hawks flying around our area, usually see at least one a day. I was just in the backyard and looked up to see 15 hawks circling above our neighborhood. What's up with that? It was really quite disturbing. Hope everyone has their cats and little dogs inside today.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. Can you identify the type of hawk?
They are cool birds but I've rarely seen more than a pair at a time unless I'm hiking in the mountains.

Kicking in hopes that one of the real birders shows up with the answer.
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. They were pretty high up....but I looked at whatbird.com
They might have been Harris's Hawks or Zone-Tailed Hawks. I gotta admit that I'm pretty clueless about identifying birds. Hell, they coulda been falcons for all I know.
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 11:04 AM
Response to Original message
3. Migrating on thermals I suspect
Its called a "kettle"
http://www.wildwnc.org/education/naturalists-notes/a-ke...

A little early for migration but thats what it sounds like...
And generally hawks are not dangerous to house pets..Eagles and Owls and some Vultures are though.
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Very interesting. Does seem a bit early for migrating.
A friend of mine had her cat snatched off their deck by a big ass owl a couple years ago. They're still traumatized.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. Sure they're hawks? Turkey buzzards may indicate a gas leak but they're considerably bigger.
I think hawks will do that when they're migrating too.
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Not that big.
And I watched them for about 10 minutes... they just drifted off still in their circling pattern. Watched a couple break off and fly lower over the houses and then fly back to the group.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Pretty cool. I like to watch them. Ours usually come in couples.
Two will circle and move from south to north, then shortly after another two do the same thing. Sometimes we'll be able to see all 4 at the same time.

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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. They are beautiful to watch.
I really enjoy watching the birds around here. Even had a roadrunner run through our backyard a few days ago. We had doves build a nest at the end of our front porch and they were quite comfortable around us. We've had tons of twohees around here too....and very loud and squeaky hummingbirds. My favorite are the quails though. They are hilarious to watch. This morning saw Mom and Dad quail and their 3 little ones walking through the yard...all in perfect alignment.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
9. They are absolutely not hawks.
Hawks are solitary. Those are turkey buzzards. And hawks don't normally ride thermals. They like to be perched. Hawks don't like being out in the open where they can be mobbed by other birds.
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semillama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. What are you talking about? Of course hawks ride thermals
I see them doing it all the time, and especially in migration. Raptor migration is just starting at this time of the year, so some species are already starting to cluster together to get ready. One of the most amazing things I've seen is thousands of hawks at Brockway Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan during spring migration - the sky was full of hawks!

Here's a link to the Hawk Mountain autumn migration results for last year (note the species total on 9/11):
http://data.hawkmountain.org/cgi-bin/count/viewdata.cgi

See for example this image of a kettle of migrating Broad-winged Hawks:




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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Per haps, around certain choke points.
Like Hawk Mountain or Cape May, but it's not common. Accipiters are forest dwellers, and like I said, most hawks for most of their lives are solitary.
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Maybe they are Black Vultures
The poster said they were too small for Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures do travel in largish groups.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I don't know, maybe they were hawks.
This has forced me to crack some of my guide books. I have been of the belief that hawks don't gather in in groups of larger that two or three except in places like Cape May.
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. You might be right.
The only place I've ever seen a large kettle is in Cape May..I have seen a smaller kettle of about 5-6 hawks here in Maryland though.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 02:10 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Yeah, you might see a small group like that it seems.
After the chicks have fledged and they are kind of hanging out in the same area for a little while.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. I'm curious now if those I see in twos circling are hawks.
I do only see single hawks on the fence posts and when they'd swipe birds from my feeders. I just assumed those couples that flew in circles were hawks, they're not as dark as the turkey vultures. We do have a lot of eagles in the area but I've only seen them alone when flying.
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arcadian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Turkey vultures have an extremely broad wing span.
and a little head. They are all diurnal raptors as opposed to the nocturnal raptors, owls. From eagles, to turkey vultures to hawks to ospreys to falcons, these are all diurnal raptors. "Hawk" is kind of a generalized term that people use to describe several different raptors when they are unsure of the species. What most people think of as true hawks fall under the genus Buteo and the genus Accipiter. Accipiters are the smaller forest dwelling type of hawk and Buteos are the Broad Shouldered and Red Tailed varieties. Classically the Buteos are known as "buzzards" which further confuses things. Then you have kites, goshawks, and harriers to even further confuse things.
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. I'm confused! LOL
I never realized there were so many raptors. I've met a few turkey vultures up pretty close. Ugly faces. Their wing span covered my entire car windshield. They like to have stare downs when they are protecting their roadkill meal in the middle of some of these country roads. I've on more than one occasion had to stop, honk, wait, inch forward, repeat, all the while being glared at.

Thank you for the information. I went looking for pics and found this site:

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-tailed_Hawk/id#s...

I've never heard of most of them. Everything was always just a hawk.
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semillama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-22-09 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #11
32. My point is that hawks ride thermals commonly
Of course accipters only ride thermals in migration, since they are forest species. But Buteos ride thermals daily. You can go out any day and see Red-tailed Hawks riding thermals. Why wouldn't they, since it's an excellent way to both conserve energy and observe their territory?
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. That's really close to what it looked like...just fewer birds
Hawks are not at all uncommon up here in the high desert. I've seen 2 together before, but nothing like this. And it was easy to count how many there were. It was ominous....noticed a lot of little birds flying overhead AWAY from the hawks...that's what first drew my eyes upwards.
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Minimus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
17. Were they steadily soaring or did they flap their wings?
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. They were mostly gliding.
Just doing big lazy circles....they were stacked up like airplanes waiting to land...LOL....the only ones I really saw flapping were the couple that broke away from the group to glide over the houses must closer to the ground. I feel very confident that they were not turkey buzzards....these were hawks, we see them all the time around here. It's hard to miss what their wings look like in a glide.
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Minimus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #19
28. Probably Buteos - depending on how long the sustained soaring lasted -
Buteos - Red-tailed hawk, Broad-winged hawk, Rough-legged hawk, Red-shouldered hawk - large hawks, soar a lot

Accipiters - Sharp-shinned hawk, Cooper's hawk - small to large hawks, alternate flaps with glides

If they soared continuously then they were vultures/buzzards - rarely beat wings - can soar for hours in thermals


It is cool that you got to see them! I love to watch birds.

Check out the Birders Group on DU if you haven't already.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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cleveramerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
22. they are buzzards
must be a corpse around
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. They're not buzzards.
It would be very difficult to confuse a buzzard for a hawk. They don't look anything alike. I know what a hawk looks like, they're quite common here and one flew over the house no more than 50 ft away. They weren't buzzards. They did not continue to fly over one specific area but drifted with what I assume to be the direction of the thermals.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Upthread you said they looked like Zone-tailed Hawks
I hate to break it to you, but zoneys are almost identical to Turkey Vultures.

Did these birds have any white or lighter areas on them, or were they all dark?
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. They were all dark.
When I went through the identification thingy on whatbird.com and the Harris's Hawk and the Zone-tail were the last couple that showed up based on my description and locations etc.....I included the zone-tail because of the picture of it's wings http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/522/overview/Zone-tail... the way they kinda fan out at the ends. I could see the shape of their heads very clearly....hawks, not buzzards. Hard to mix those two up I'd think. They're darker brown. It's not that they were hawks that interested me...I'm absolutely positive they were, it's the behavior. Never seen them in that number.
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Sky Masterson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 04:50 PM
Response to Original message
25. I'd bet they are buzzards


I took these last year. The birds were flying almost exactly as you described.
I thought they were hawks until they got closer
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 06:41 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. Nope, not even close. And I watched them for about 10 minutes.
Some of them were quite high, but as I said upthread one flew very close to my yard. It was just a plain, everyday hawk.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
26. They're Giant Golden-crowned Flying Foxes
You do live in the Philippines, don/t you?
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 05:18 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Oh that's a big help..
Don't you have a door to answer nekkid? ;)
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Nevilledog Donating Member (902 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-21-09 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #26
31. Yeah... Manilla, Arizona.....dork.
Did I miss the start of Happy Hour again?
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DU GrovelBot  Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-22-09 02:28 PM
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