He didn't fly off right away, so at first I was concerned that he might be hurt - but after he let me snap a few photos he quickly took to the sky.
So I've been trying to figure out exactly what kind of a bird it was. He (I say "he" but it could well be a female for all I know) anyhow, it was good sized, but not terribly big, maybe the size of a crow or a large pigeon, but from the beak and the bloomers I'm pretty confident it's some sort of a hawk or falcon.
I looked on a few bird identification sites, but I fear I'm not very good at this sort of thing.
None of them look quite right.
Maybe a Merlin hawk?
|Red Tailed Hawk|
Well, anyhow, he was a neat looking bird, and he let me get pretty close to him which was cool - whatever kind of bird he is!
Here are a few more shots of him.
Anybody have any ideas?
I guess I'm sorta leaning toward Red Tailed Hawk - they are the most common raptors here in Colorado - but he doesn't look very red to me. Anybody want to take a crack at it?
OK, so since virtually everybody had a different idea as to what it was, I finally contacted a fellow named Kin Quitugua, who is an expert on Colorado Raptors. He didn't offer any details, but said it was an immature Swainson’s Hawk. In these photos at least, the face certainly looks more like the Swainson's than any of the others. And according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology the young Swainson's are often seen on the ground in open places hunting grasshoppers - and there are a LOT of grasshoppers along that stretch of the bike path, which would completely explain what he was doing there on the ground. So there you have it! The expert weighs in!