Subject: Hawks and Gulls
Date: Nov 11 13:02:05 1994
From: MBEB1215 at delphi.com - MBEB1215 at delphi.com
About three or four weeks ago I posted a message about
an unidentified hawk I had seen on the grounds of my school.
I thought it might be a goshawk because of the habitat and
size. Michael Price responded that it was certainly possible
but with the warning that Red-tailed hawks can be very
This morning I was in the same area. As I emerged from
the woods, I surprised a hawk not twenty feet away, feeding
on an unfortunate juvenile gull. The hawk flew towards an
area I had seen one in on two other occasions. I assumed it
was my elusive friend.
I got some good looks at a clear, lightly colored upper
breast. Then, when it screamed indignantly at me, I knew it
was a Red-tail.
Later, as I was returning to the scene with the school
camcorder, I saw a second smaller raptor fly from a tree
about two hundred yards from the gull carcass.
I got about two shots of the Red-tail flying from tree
to tree, and I have two or three of its calls on the audio
track. I can hardly wait to show my fourth and fifth grade
naturalists the gory video of the gull carcass, if not the
On another related note, I have been trying to develop
an identification key for the gulls found at my school. I
want to make it easier for my adult volunteers and students
to identify the gulls we see.
Last year, I identified Herring, California, and Ring-
billed gulls with a fair degree of confidence. I made up a
key to separate those species based on size, bill markings,
eye and leg color, etc.
Now I am seeing gulls with noticeably lighter wing-tips.
One of the things which helped me identify the others was
habitat descriptions. But Peterson has no such description
for Thayer's and Glaucous-winged gulls. Are they likely to be
found away from water, on a school play-field? Any input will
MBEB1215 at delphi.com