Wayne R. Petersen
Autumn is generally the premiere season to witness the majesty of southward hawk migration, so it seems appropriate that this issue's mystery bird is a raptor. Diurnal raptors (i.e., eagles, hawks, and falcons) are magnificent but often challenging to identify because (1) they are often observed only in flight at a great distance, (2) some species exhibit sexual dimorphism in size or coloration, (3) some species are polymorphic or exhibit regional variation, and (4) adults and immatures often have distinct plumages. Consequently, a brief or distant view of an unknown raptor can sometimes leave a question mark on a checklist or in a field notebook.
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. Bird Observer publishes original articles on birding locations, on avian populations and natural history, on regional rarities, field notes, field records, photographs, and art work.