Broad-Winged Hawk
Buteo platypterus
Oct. 28, 2012

Funny how the years can pass, and it never occurred to me to put up any broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus) photos on a separate page. Well, broadwings are not particularly common in central Pennsylvania, but during spring and fall migration, they are well reprsesented.

Broad-winged hawks, or broadwings in the more familiar, are chunky, crow-sized hawks. An adult is easy to spot because of the broad black and white bands at the end of its tail.

Adult broad-winged hawk
  Even at a distance, the black and white bands are highly visible, especially if there happens to be any sunlight.
Backlit broadwing
During spring and fall migration, the broadwings travel together in large groups, called kettles. Over at Jo Hays Vista, one's likely to see groups of twenty or thirty broadwings at a time. In the image below, a kettle is taking advantage of a thermal to rise higher in the air.
A kettle of broadwings

Other hawk watch sites may report kettles of hundreds of broadwings at a time.

A juvenile broadwing is somewhat more difficult to ID. Their tails are banded, as in so many other young hawks.

Immature broad-winged hawk

An ID aid is that a juvenile broad-winged hawk has a thin chin line, as in the incoming kid below.
Incoming broadwing

The highlight of broadwing migration is during mid-September, although the one above passed State College in the beginning of October.

Photo note: I used a Pentax K20D, with the Sigma 150-500mm lens, during September 2011 (the first four) and October 2012.

My Pennsylvania bird list   ||   Early fall hawks, four photos (2008)

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