CA/AZ: Red-tailed Hawks of Arizona

We have things easy in the east. I'm no expert on western Red-tails, but while in the southwest I saw a wide range of Red-tail plumages, from light to rufous to dark. I was able to get photos of a few of the birds and figured I would post them here, from light to dark. I saw much more variation than this, but these were the only ones I photographed. Western buteo ID is something I could get into someday, particularly with future visits, but right now I just don't have the time...

- NB


  1. I wanted to wait until the series was over to comend you on some really great shots. Especially on two of your targets (Robin and RCWA).

    As of now I am working on an Excel sheet with a huge (over 300) list of things I need to get, find, or gather for my trip.

    BTW.... did you go to, or think about going to, Tejon Ranch outside of LA?? It's on my itinerary and it looks AMAZING!! There was an article about it in the most recent Audubon Mag. (with the elephant on the cover).

    Also... what kind of mammals did you see?? Any SW Coyotes or Elk or dare I say, A Jackal/Cougar/Ocelot?? (doubt any of those last 3 are in the area you were in.... but who knows.... I'm hoping HARD that I get some nice mammals.) The Pronghorns in the Dakotas are awesome. Can't wait to see the Druids (first wolf pack) in Yellowstone!! And the Buffalo!!

    Man... you got me going crazy! At least I'm under the 2 month mark!!

    Great trip, shots, and posts, Nick. Sounds like a trip of a lifetime.


  2. Brian,

    I didn't bird the LA area at all, so Tejon Ranch was never on my radar.
    Mammals were ok but not great. I was only out owling one night, and didn't do much night driving of backroads, so that limited me mainly to diurnal species. Off the top of my head, the cooler mammals were Antelope Ground Squirrel and Jackrabbit (photos of neither). Otherwise, there were squirrels and cottontails that weren't very unlike our own species. While owling at night, we had a skunk that from above/behind looked entirely white with just black along its sides...I'll have to look up which species that is. I had a slight chance at Pronghorn but missed it. One mammal I really wanted to see but missed was White-nosed Coati.

    You're definitely going to some awesome mammal spots.

  3. Yes I am. Birds are certainly a rush... but when you come upon an animal almost as big, or bigger than you.... nothing tops that.

    Like the Bull Moose in AK who decided to sneak up on me!

    Good luck starting your career, I wish you the best. My mother's b/f is a doctor and so is his son (his son was where you are about 2 years ago.. but older than you).... so I know how busy, and uncooperative the schedules can be. Again, good luck! Hope your birding skils don't dwindle!! (doubt it!)


  4. Hey Nick,
    There's a couple fantastic articles in the newest ABA Issue of Birding about Harlan's, Red-tailed and Krider's Hawks. Pretty good stuff.



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