Sounds like an eagle to me. How did you rule out a juv. Bald Eagle? There is
a definite pattern to a Golden Eagle's white patches under the wings,
whereas the Bald Eagle just tends to look splotchy. In the last year I have
seen two (different?) Golden Eagles just across the lake in Essex Co., NY.
While G.E.'s don't care much for big water, as long as they can see that the
far shore is a short flight away, I would think they would certainly cross
into VT. They really like to hunt open areas, and there are more open areas
in VT than this part of NY. A G.E. is about 5 times heavier than a
Swainson's - a small buteo - I doubt you could confuse the two. I think your
professor was a little closed-minded.

"Enjoy every sandwich." -  W.  Zevon

Dana C. Rohleder, O.D.
Port Kent, NY
<[log in to unmask]>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeanmarie Cross" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2002 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: possible Swainson's Hawk in Shelburne

> Hi,
> 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
> Swainson's Hawk on Bostwick Rd at the foot of the Wake Robin driveway 2
> ago (5 Nov). She described a "compact" Buteo with distinctly
> chest and pure whitish underparts below. I'm no expert on raptor ID, but
> sure sounds like a light morph adult Swainson's. It's too bad she didn't
> sooner, but some Burlington area birders might want to take a look.
> Good luck,
> Chris
> Chris Rimmer
> Vermont Institute of Natural Science
> 27023 Church Hill Road
> Woodstock, VT 05091
> 802-457-2779 ext 120
> ---------------------------------
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