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FLORIDABIRDS-L  May 2014, Week 3

FLORIDABIRDS-L May 2014, Week 3

Subject:

Report of Zone-tailed Hawk at Cedar Key

From:

Rex Rowan <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rex Rowan <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 15 May 2014 09:06:26 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (74 lines)

FWC's Tiffany Black has reported a Zone-tailed Hawk near Cedar Key on the
12th and 13th but NOT the 14th. I learned about it yesterday and contacted
her. She wrote:

"The bird was seen over a period of two days, 5/12 and 5/13/14. Both days
were at my home in Cedar Key (I live off-island). The first time we saw it
(6pm 5/12 - my boyfriend and I) it was with a small group (approx. 8) of
black vultures and one turkey vulture and we noticed that it was different.
It split from the vulture group and dove downward, soaring and banking just
over the treetops in our front yard. We got good anterior and posterior
views; and I have seen zone tails in Texas on two occasions (when I worked
for Audubon at Santa Ana/Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge).
The dark color of the bird along with the trailing edges of the wings was
very clear. The second day it was in a tree in our backyard (I was at work
this day) and it flew out of the tree and dove down, catching a dove (and
then subsequently dropping it). The color and tail pattern were
unmistakable (this was at 30 feet away). We have not seen it today. I have
been a birder for decades and have worked on breeding bird atlases in NJ,
and for Audubon; been a contributor to Hawk Migration Association of North
America, etc., so I am familiar with hawks. I am very sad that we were so
fixated on the zone tailed that we just were trying to do ID and didn't
have a camera handy (had one handy today and didn't see it ... Murphy's
Law.) I live adjacent to the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve (a 4000 acre
preserve just off the island). Please let me know if I can be of any
further assistance. We have a camera at the ready, just in case we get
lucky."

I inquired if she might have seen a Short-tailed Hawk instead, since there
are a few of them in the area. She replied:

"I tried every way in the world to make it a short tailed (because that's
what's expected here) but I really am sure that it wasn't. Both I and my
partner Scott have seen short tailed hawks here several times. The wing
size/shape of this bird compared to them was very distinctive (very long
wingspan compared to short tailed); the color of the trailing edges was
darker; (dark grayish; not so light) in contrast to the bird's body which
was very dark throughout with absolutely no streaking anywhere. That and
the two-inch white band through the tail and the flight pattern just seemed
so zone-tailed. I'd second guess myself if I hadn't seen zone tailed before
but I got such a great look at it that I don't think it could be anything
else."

Finally, I asked if birders could come out and look for the hawk. Her
answer:

"I live at 7850 SW 126th Terrace, Cedar Key, FL, 32625. I am OK with people
parking in the yard and looking around. They can come on the porch if they
want. I don't mind; I am a birder so I know the drill. :) Scott is my
boyfriend and should be here. Now, to clarify, we did NOT see it yesterday,
and the views from the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve might afford better
views."

You can use an internet mapping program to find her address. The section of
the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve that she refers to is on State Road 24
about three and a half miles west of the junction with County Road 345.
Here's a map of the Reserve:
http://www.floridastateparks.org/cedarkeyscrub/doc/additionalinformation/cks-cks_trail_map.pdf

This would be the third for Florida (though the first and second may have
involved the same bird).

Rex Rowan
Gainesville

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