Swainson's Hawk(Buteo swainsoni)
Status in the Checklist Area - (8) Accidental

A slender hawk in the same family as our common Red-tailed Hawk. MIgratory, breeds in the Interior's grassland habitats and winters in South America. In addition to small rodents, also eats large insects. Encounters in our area are basically limited to spring and fall migration and these birds are rarely seen in the checklist area more than one day as they appear to move through fairly quickly.

Similar species:
Light phase Swainson's Hawks are relatively distinct from other hawks, but more care needs to be taken with the intermediate and dark phased birds as they can appear similar to Red-tailed Hawks (which can vary significantly in plumage). Wing shape and colour is a good clue. Swainson's Hawk has long and pointed wings with dark tips and trailing edge. Red-tailed Hawks are more broadly tipped and lack the strong dark trailing edge of the wing. See photos below.

Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, (1988)
Sibley, D. 2000

Noteworthy Data
September 18, 2015 Hope Airport, Hope L. Lalonde 2015, I. Nelson Dark phase juvenile. Photographed (see below)
May 7, 2015 Sumas Prairie, Abbotsford G. Gadsden 2015c Intermediate phase adult hunting over a freshly mowed field.
June 11, 2012 Hope Airport, Hope G. Gadsden 2012j Intermediate phase adult. Photographs below.
May 22, 2012 Hope Airport, Hope C. McDonald 2012c Dark phase juvenile perched on the ground before flying up into a tree. Photographed (see below).
May 11, 2012 Sumas Prairie, Abbotsford G. Gadsden 2012i Light phase and dark phase adults hunting over newly cut grass. A light phase adult seen further to the west may have been a third bird. Photographed (see below)
August 2011 Delair Farm, Hope J. Delair 2011 A light phased adult perched on a fence post.
June 1, 2010 Hope Airport, Hope K. R. Jones 2010f One perched on the ground.
May 22, 2010 Island 22, Chilliwack G. Gadsden 2010c Light phase adult flying over river in a easterly direction. Photographed.
February 11, 2008 Highway 11, Abbotsford K. Stewart 2008a A sight record of an intermediate phase adult. While this would be unusually early for a Swainson's Hawk to be this far north, the bird's features were well described. Consequent searches by other birders did not turn up the bird reported.
September 17, 2006 Matsqui Trail, Abbotsford B. Schmor 2006 Three birds flying overhead.
Audio and Video    
None available

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