I took a natural history class this summer at ccv, and did my lake report at Shelburne Pond, I saw a bird there that I thought had to be a Swainson's Hawk, until I looked at the range of those birds.  The white under the wings did not match any other bird in the book as well as it did the Swainson.  I have included the paragragh from my paper that describes the bird.  I ended up saying it could have been a Golden Eagle, which I was told by my teacher that it could not be as they have not been seen in VT since the 70's.

"The most amazing thing I saw was a very large bird sitting high in a tree watching me watch it.  I did not want to stop watching it to look in my field guide to see if I could tell what it was, because I was afraid that it would fly off if I moved too much.  I watched it for about 10 minutes before it took off.  It was a very dark brown, like the color of coffee beans, its beak was yellow near the head and dark at the tip.  When it flew away I could see white under the wings.  The wingspan was about 5 or 6 feet across.  It may have been a Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus, or a Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos(Peterson, 1980 p 157, 158) .  If it was a Golden eagle it was an immature one because it had white on the underside of the wings.  What ever it was I was very impressed by its size and beauty.  When the large bird flew away it had an American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis (Peterson, 1980 p 272) chasing it until it was across the lake.  The goldfinch would get so close to the large bird I could not see the little bird.  It was mobbing it with a lot of attitude for a little bird."

Jeanmarie Cross

Hinesburg VT

 Chris Rimmer <[log in to unmask]> wrote:I hesitate to post this, but it sounds reasonably convincing. Anne August of
Wake Robin in Shelburne just called me and reported what she believes was a
Swainson's Hawk on Bostwick Rd at the foot of the Wake Robin driveway 2 days
ago (5 Nov). She described a "compact" Buteo with distinctly chocolate-brown
chest and pure whitish underparts below. I'm no expert on raptor ID, but it
sure sounds like a light morph adult Swainson's. It's too bad she didn't call
sooner, but some Burlington area birders might want to take a look.

Good luck,


Chris Rimmer
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
27023 Church Hill Road
Woodstock, VT 05091
802-457-2779 ext 120

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