Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Spring Hawk Migration

Got to have the experience of a lifetime recently. I really am pretty blessed to have people in my life who are not only kind and wonderful humans, but they are willing to share their knowledge. A wonderful couple on Duluth opened their home and let me stay and take in the fantastic spectacle of spring hawk migration. For someone like me who has done fall hawks for so long - seeing these birds six months later was quite an eye-opener. Birds hatched in 2010 now look remarkably different in the spring of the following year. I tried to soak up as much as I could, but hope to do more of this.

Quite a treat to get one Northern Harrier in a fall season - something else to get not just two, but a full adult AND a second year bird (meaning, hatched the year before) and have them in hand for comparison. The full adult is the bird on the right - look at the difference in eye color and plumage.

Merlins are always one of my favorites. This adult male looked so worn - see the tips of his inner (deck) feathers? Also check out the reddish color on the feathers over his legs.

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