As a rookie birder, a couple of spring ago, I was heading to the old iron mine ponds for a hike with my GSD. On the way, I had noticed a "Minimum Maintenance" road I had not driven down for years. It was very narrow, dark, and heavily wooded. A hawk flushed out in front of me and landed several hundred yards down the road on an overhanging branch. I edged ahead. The bird never moved. I stopped and put the binocs on him.
At this point, I must interject a note that in my new birding hobby I was I only confident in identifying the ubiquitous red-tail and the northern Harrier. Harriers because of their penchant for twisting and turning low above the prairie.
I knew right away it wasn't a red-tail. It seemed considerably smaller, I thought. Then I noticed the white tail band. I moved the truck closer yet. Time for the Peterson field guide. There it was. A Broad-Winged Hawk.
"Forest hunter. Rather tame. White band on tail" my field guide claimed .
Millions of birders could, no doubt, have made this identification on sight alone. But for me it was a first. You gotta love it. I then knew three hawks. It was a start. Since then I’ve added a few more hawks and even a falcon or two....