Saturday, February 21, 2015

Springfield Red-shouldered Hawk

Shortly before 8:00 AM on Thursday, February 19 during my morning commute to work a hawk perched in a dead tree next to the Black River in Springfield, VT caught my attention.  Pulling to the roadside and peering through binoculars at the bird on the opposite side of the river it was apparent this was not one  our common wintering raptors (i.e. Red-tailed, Cooper's or Sharp-shinned hawks) but rather a Red-shouldered Hawk.  Several photos were taken with my work camera, but all were of poor quality.  Hoping the hawk would stay around long enough for a second photo op, the next morning I came prepared with my personal camera but the bird was nowhere to be seen.  Disappointing but to be expected.

But then, I had no expectation of seeing the bird this morning perched in a tree next to the river nearly three miles downriver from where it was first seen.   A handsome bird and cooperative photo subject.

Whether or not this bird has been overwintering in the general area or is an early spring migrant is anybody's guess.  According to the Vermont Bird Records Committee the median spring arrival date for Red-shouldered Hawk is the third week of March, so this sighting is a full month ahead of schedule, more or less.  On the other hand, there has been a resident Red-shouldered Hawk spending the past several winters at Woodside Park in Essex, VT.  

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