Birding/Big bird of prey


In the fall of last year, I saw a very large bird at the top of a tree across the street from my house. I live in Addison Il., about 10 miles west of Chicago. The bird was mostly brown and was between 2' and 3' tall. As I started to cross the street to get a better look or take a picture, the bird flew up from a very tall Elm tree. The wing span was 5'to 7' and there was an orange circle under each wing. The bird soared and glided like a hawk, but was much larger than any hawk in our area. I live in a well populated neighborhood, but there are forests and water all over the area. In the spring of this year, I saw the same kind of bird flying high above the place I work. Same orange circles under the wing. This was obviously a hunter looking for prey and seemed very out of place. We also started getting those Argentine parrots in our neighborhood and they have chased most of the birds away including BlueJays.

I guess you are asking what kind of hawk it is? I don't know of any hawk with an orange circle under the wing. Around your neighborhood it is most likely a Red-tailed or Red-shouldered Hawk. But certainly not an eagle, which are the only birds that approach a 5-6 foot wingspan.


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Roger Lederer


Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.


Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

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