Okay, you real bird experts…I need help.
A few minutes ago the above hawk flew in and paused a moment in the big box elder tree near the door. I was sitting at my writing desk finishing up a column, grabbed the camera I always keep handy, and managed to squeeze off only a few frames before the bird departed.
The image above—cropped from the original—is the best of the lot…and I'll be the first to admit as a diagnostic portrait, it isn't much good. Certainly not good enough that I can be sure of calling it right. (The pix should enlarge when you double-click—not that a bigger view helped me much.)
It was definitely one of the buteo species, large and typically bulky. I'd say—having seen numerous Cooper's hawks in the same tree—an overall length of 20 inches. The eye was definitely red rather than yellow. The feather coloration was quite reddish, as you can see in the photo. The tail was as oddly short as it appears.
My best guess is a red-shouldered. Somehow it just didn't quite look like a red-tailed, though I'd be hard-pressed to explain why. And it seemed a bit too burley for a broad-winged, and too reddish. But I'd like to know what you think.