Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cuaght on Camera

September 14. 2013 11:36PM

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What do these hawks and the mallard duck have in common?

They’re all getting ready to leave. As the fall migration kicks into full swing, albeit a little bit later for the mallard, now would be a good time to run a few photos of some our our migrant birds that you may see passing by this fall.

The first photo was sent in my Tina Cromer of a broad-winged hawk she photographed flying over Francis Walter Dam in May. The best way to identify a broad-winged hawk is by the solid white band on the underside of its tail. The forest-dwelling raptor will likely migrate to South America to spend the winter.

Tina also sent in another photo of a pair of hawks perched in her White Haven backyard. These were a bit tough to identify because sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks closely resemble each other. After a bit of scrutiny, we believe Tina’s photo shows a pair of immature Cooper’s hawks. Why? Well, they were found in a suburban area as opposed to the heavily wooded habitat preferred by the sharp-shinned, they have a rounded tail and the brown streaks are concentrated on the chest. A sharp-shinned has similar streaks, but they usually extend down onto the belly. We could be wrong, however, so feel free to email your own evidence.

The next photo was sent in by Barbara Wilson of Hanover Township, and we’re certain this is an adult sharp-shinned hawk because of the slate gray head and orangish horizontal bands on the chest. Notice how the hawk carefully sat its talons between the chain link fence.

Finally, Chris Banks of Dallas photographed this mallard duck over the summer. It’s a male, mainly because of the green head and purplish chest. The most common wild duck in the United States, mallards have an extended migration period that lasts into early winter.

Capture anything interesting on your handheld or trail camera? A nice buck, bear, coyote or anything unique? We’d love to see it. Each week, we’ll run photos from a reader’s trail camera on the Sunday Outdoors page. Email your photo, along with date and area it was taken (township is fine), and any other details to


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