Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hybrid Red-shouldered X Red-tailed Hawk!?

Saw this guy on Eastport Drive in Hamilton yesterday evening, and went back this morning for more photos. The collection here is a mix of both times, taken with my point and shoot (yest) and my DSLR (this am)...

The weather is too nice to hit the books much, but here are my thoughts:

- GISS is crazy. I did a a serious double take when I first saw it

- appears quite small

- perches upright (when not agitated by me)

- belly markings are an odd shape (for RTHA)

- white "V" on the back (of RTHA) is poorly defined

- has RSHA like markings on the secondaries and coverts (above)

- pataginal bar (RTHA) is poorly defined

- feathers of the pataginal bar are oddly marked

- primary projection is VERY SHORT

- upperside of the primaries and tertials look odd to me, not sure why though (tertials are pale)

(hopefully more to come - later...)

I know there have been adult RSHAxRTHA in the NE USA in recent years (Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts), but i'm not sure if anyone has been dumb confident enough to claim a bird in juv. plumage like this...

Here you have it! The bird is pretty WARY of slow/stopped cars and people getting in/out of cars. If we want it to hang around (and molt), I suggest we give it some space... It hangs out along eastport and both sides of the QEW... If we chase it too close to the Peregrine nest, I highly doubt it'll stick around...


Not all rarities were created as proper species. Very exciting! 


  1. Looks like an SY Red-tailed..... Probably a male if its giving you the "small" size impression.

  2. Looks like a young RT hawk to me as well.

    1. Long time no see, Anonymous... Long tail and short wings don't bother you at all for RTHA? I can't disagree that the photos look decidedly RTHA-ish, but that's the danger of photography & putting yourself out there I guess :)

  3. Kind of just looks like a sickly RTHA to me, but then the adult hybrid RSHA x RTHA photos I just saw online remind of giant Kestrels, so what do I know? Regardless, I would definitely vote for RSHA x RTHA hybrid as Canada's national bird. You should start a petition on your blog, I'd sign, I'm sure "Anonymous" would as well.