A bird puzzle

We ran across this bird south of the Tetons park, back up a dirt road.

It acted uncharacteristically calm about our nearness…probably because we stayed in the car.

I thought it was a hawk…until I got home and enlarged the images…and saw that beak and those yellow leggings.

Could it be a Golden Eagle?

Edit: I’ve received the suggestion it’s a slightly immature Swainson’s Hawk…and I agree that’s a more likely identification, especially given its behavior.DSC_8291-2DSC_8286-2DSC_8279-2DSC_8278-2

10 thoughts on “A bird puzzle

  1. Looks like a young Golden Eagle, coloration matches. They are now considered endangered by Audubon due to their Inquisitive attitude and gregarious nature. Poison in feed animals and wind farms are mostly responsible. They are larger than bald eagles, have a faster dive rate and are not afraid of much.tlc.ky

  2. I am thinking that it is a Swainson’s Hawk. They are fairly common out west. The white coverts, tail bars and chestnut chest coloring all work as does the underside of the wings. The beak doesn’t look “heavy” enough for an eagle and the head lacks the telltale golden sheen of a Golden. How large was it? A Golden would be as tall as Jim and Cindy but a Swainson’s would be about 10″ shorter. If that post it is perched on is a fence post (as the camera angle suggests it is) I’m thinking that it is smaller. If that post is the top of a utility pole then that is one BIG bird! Fantastic shots either way!

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