Julie, it's a GORGEOUS photo!
I'd like to recommend to everybody who's occasionally befuddled by hawk
ID problems (which means pretty much all of us!) "Photographic Guide to
North American Raptors" by Wheeler and Clark. It's out now in paperback
for about $15 and available pretty much everywhere. It's mostly pix (30
pages of Red-Tail plumages alone!), but with good succinct text pointing
out the key diagnostics, comparisons with similar species, etc., for
I find the hawk sections in most general field guides almost useless
(Sibley's are best, but still not that helpful). The small "Hawks" book
in the Peterson series has excellent, comprehensive text sections that
dig deep down into the fine points, but the "Photographic Guide," which
has photographs in flight and perched, adult and immature, male and
female where there are differences, is by far the clearest and most
Julie Waters wrote:
> Okay, I'm sold that it's a red-shouldered, not a red-tail.
> There's a surreal quality to this because I've been trying for -ages- to
> get a good red-shouldered picture, only to be thwarted at every
> attempt. In the meantime, there's been one hanging out in our yard off
> and on for more than a year now, and I've gotten to the point where I
> ignore it most of the time because it's just the same old red-tail.
> In other words, I'm rarely so happy as to be this wrong about something.
> I should also mention that Bruce Parfit tried to flag me to this being
> an immature red-shouldered back in November and I was convinced that he
> was wrong about it at the time.
> I clearly should have paid more attention :).