Advanced Raptor Identification
Join instructor Bryce Robinson for this ‘Build Your Birding Skills’ workshop and learn about advanced field identification of our raptors. This two-part workshop includes a classroom session and a self-drive field trip* to the Lucky Peak Field Station. $20 course fee and advanced registration required.
Do you struggle with identifying Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks? Can you tell the age of a red-tailed hawk, without seeing its tail? Do you know the difference between a Prairie and Peregrine Falcon soaring in the canyon below?
Because identifying birds of prey in flight represents one of the most challenging aspects of birding, many birders are left intimidated when observing a bird in the air. However, it is possible to identify even the smallest spec in the sky, with only a few simple tools to narrow down the identification.
Join ornithologist and illustrator Bryce Robinson for a workshop on raptor identification. In the workshop, Bryce will discuss tools to master raptor identification. Building on the basics, Bryce will outline the differences between Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, and discuss how to tell the difference between young and old Red-tailed Hawks, without seeing a red tail.
First Session - In-Class Lecture
In this 1.5 hr lecture, Bryce will lay out the basics of raptor ID. He will discuss differences between the species we see in Idaho during summer, on fall migration, and in winter. The class portion is designed to provide a basis for developing skills that we will practice in the field, on a trip to Lucky Peak to watch the fall migration.
Second Session - Field Workshop at Lucky Peak
Lucky Peak is southwestern Idaho's premiere location for watching migrating raptors. Here we will join Intermountain Bird Observatory's field biologists for a day of fall migration counts. Building on the information we learned in the lecture, we will practice and learn raptor identification as Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper's Hawks, and Northern Harriers pass by. Ultimately we will master our ability to name even the most distant dot in the sky. With Broad-winged Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks, we will practice the ability to tell the age of birds as they soar overhead or across the ridge below. Because of the ongoing work of IBO's biologists in the raptor trapping blind, we will on occasion have the ability to see raptors up close and personal, and discuss in the hand identification that will help with understanding what we see with birds in the air.
*Please be aware that the undeveloped road to the field station is deeply rutted in multiple spots; a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is highly recommended, along with an experienced driver. During the classroom session we can leave time to allow for carpooling arrangements to be made by participants if desired. It is ~1h drive from town to reach the station.