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Snowy Weather Raptors

Alex Lamoreaux|

Between December 3rd and 7th, I spent quite a bit of time hawkwatching on the border of Bedford and Blair Counties. It was very, very cold but raptors were on the move, in very low numbers, but nonetheless, on the move. On December 3rd, I watched a subadult I Bald Eagle fly past the site as well as 6 Red-tailed Hawks. December 4th produced 7 Red-tailed Hawks; 1 Cooper’s Hawk; 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk; and 2 Bald Eagles, 1 subadult III and 1 subadult I. December 5th had 1 Red-tailed Hawk. December 7th was great though, with 6 Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Sharp-shinned Hawk, 1 Cooper’s Hawk, 1 4th year Bald Eagle, and 1 juvenile Northern Goshawk!

I had been waiting all season for a raelly good look at a goshawk and I finally got it. The goshawk appeared over the trees directly in front of us. It was all tucked up in a fast glide. The bird shot right over our heads, glancing down at us and continued, like a bullet, southward and out of view. That quick look made my day and I still try to relive the moment whenever I look through the photos I took of the bird. Plus, I was able to see all three Accipiters in a matter of three hours that day! There is really something special about being outside on a ridgetop, with snow falling down heavy and seeing a raptor coming towards you, cutting through the snowstorm, it really makes me even more fascinated with these beautiful birds. Below are some photos I took of the various birds I mentioned. In some of the photos you can actually see the snow flakes!

Juvenile Northern Goshawk

Juvenile Northern Goshawk

Juvenile Northern Goshawk

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk

4th year Bald Eagle

4th year Bald Eagle

Adult Red-tailed Hawk

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

About the Author

Alex Lamoreaux

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Alex Lamoreaux has been an avid birder and naturalist since he was a youngster, growing up exploring the farmland and Appalachian ridges near Hershey, Pennsylvania. He attended Penn State University, studying wildlife biology. Alex has traveled extensively throughout North America, Central America, and South Africa and is a freelance nature tour guide, field biologist, and wildlife photographer. Alex has worked on wildlife research projects ranging from Whimbrel migration along the coast of Virginia to Yellow-billed Cuckoo nesting in the desert southwest. He has been the migration counter at the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory for the past two fall seasons, documenting the massive visible migration of raptors and songbirds along Lake Superior. Alex loves to share his knowledge of nature, and strives to bring the birding community together to share in the fun that studying birds and wildlife has to offer. He has helped to organize and coordinate birding events in his home state of Pennsylvania and beyond. Contact Info Alex Lamoreaux aslamoreaux@gmail.com (717) 943-7086

  • Great photos – love the markings on the Goshawk

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  • Nice photos Alex. Good series of the three Accipiters too!

    • They sure are. That Sharpie looks really squat shaped.

  • Dguzman1964

    Nice, especially the goshawk!

  • Liz

    Fantastic shots!

    Mine is here.

  • Amazing shots.

  • This shows me I still have so much to learn. But we don´t have that much hawks here. 🙁

    Great shots despite the weather.

  • Love the shots- I am a fellow Penn Stater, though I graduated almost 20 years ago and now live in Oregon.

  • The Goshawk is very cool and I like the snowy Bald Eagle!

  • Awesome shots of the Northern Goshawk Alex! I can’t imagine how exciting that is to see that baby flying in toward you at full speed. I always love it when raptors look down on me as they fly by like that. It’s like their showing their prowess. Of course, I have always wanted to be able to fly.

  • Alex

    Thanks for all the comments everyone! I am glad you all enjoyed my photos – even though the heavy snow blurred them a bit.

    Every raptor I see coming at me at a hawk watch gives me a thrill, but goshawks and Golden Eagles are what really makes me want to stand up there in the freezing cold.