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Old 11-26-2012, 12:46 PM   #1
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Birders? Need help with ID

I took a picture this past weekend of this awesome bird, and am trying to determine what I am looking at. My first thought is eagle, but could be harrier, maybe something else?? The wing span is big - easily 6 feet. Location was in Georgia on the Chattahoochee River. Any help appreciated!
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:07 PM   #2
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Brad,
Is it an osprey? They are big birds with a wingspan of probably 6'.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
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Near water, white throat and with that size could be an osprey - Osprey, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

The most surefire identifying sign is white on the underside of the wings in flight. Nice sighting!
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:11 PM   #4
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It's called a KITE. Because they hang in the air while flying like a kite.
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Old 11-26-2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by AIR-Quarius View Post
It's called a KITE. Because they hang in the air while flying like a kite.
Cool! In another picture (not very clear) it does have a white wingspan. Never heard of a Kite before - thanks!
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:20 PM   #6
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The tail is certainly raptor-like (either a buteo hawk or an osprey). And that pic is far enough away that one couldn't necessarily see the dark wing feathers at the wrist. I do see the dark primaries (large outer wing feathers).

Ospreys can fly with outstretched wings like your second photo shows but their more common configuration is with the wrists crooked forward (from the Cornell site) -- http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/P...E/osprey_7.jpg. If you didn't see that wing configuration predominate, I'd say this was not an osprey.

This bird turned his head for you, right? Was the top of his head white? (ie, osprey) The dark eye bars are quite distinct in an osprey.

Your second photo, a dark feathered top of head, and large size also suggests this buteo -- Red-tailed Hawk, Identification, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology

There are an awful lot of hawks who have moved south after their fall migration. Hawk Ridge in Duluth, MN, attracts a lot of birders in late September.
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Old 11-26-2012, 03:54 PM   #7
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As a longtime falconer and raptor breeder, I'm saying Red-tail. Second but less likely would be Ferruginous hawk, of which there have been several sighting in Ga/Miss/Ala this year. Definitely not Eagle Kite or Osprey
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:27 PM   #8
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Definitely not a kite - looks to big in body. First inkling is red tail hawk. They are prominent in southeast and do well in urban environments. I leave near a small lake in Augusta, Ga and have one that works the neighborhood. They can play havoc on a squirrels nest!
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:43 PM   #9
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Tail doesn't look right for a red tail. Definitely a hawk. I'd almost say a Prairie Falcon except the wing span looks too big... Definitely NOT an eagle. Albino turkey vulture?

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Old 11-26-2012, 07:02 PM   #10
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Kay it looks exactly like a RT's wings, broad and rounded. Prairies, being falcons, have a more pointed wing, than the buteos. The only reason I am even a very little hesitant to say 100% positive it's a RT is that if it is indeed perched on the upper part of that pine it should be bending the limb more. A big female will weigh in the 1300-1500 gram range (45-50 oz )
BTW a turkey vulture has a long wing ( made for soaring) with definite fingers on the end as the primaries in flight spread out with separations for soaring , to capture more resistance against the wind.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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Does this help at all?
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Everything about it says RT, head shape, color, wings, proportions of body parts one to another, flight profile, everything.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:28 PM   #13
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It is a red-tailed hawk. Ospreys look skinny compared to the RT Hawk. See pick of an Osprey
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:20 PM   #14
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umm, I was joking about the albino turkey vulture..... I bow to your combined wisdom of identification of a red tailed hawk. I'm way too amateur for this discussion!

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