SWAINSON’S HAWK: A UNIQUE VISITOR TO ABACO, BAHAMAS


Swainson's Hawk (imm), Abaco - Bruce Hallett

SWAINSON’S HAWK: A UNIQUE VISITOR TO ABACO, BAHAMAS

Abaco has 6 accipiter species (hawks, eagles and kites) recorded:  Swallow-tailed Kite TR 4, Bald Eagle V4, Northern Harrier WR 3, Sharp-shinned Hawk WR 4, Red-tailed Hawk PR B 1 and Swainson’s Hawk Buteo swainsoni V5. The Red-tail is a familiar permanent resident; the Harrier and Sharp-shinned hawk are uncommonly recorded winter residents; the Kites are occasionally seen passing through on their migratory path; the Bald Eagle has been reported on only a handful of occasions; and the Swainson’s Hawk has been seen (or anyway recognised) precisely once. One glance at its migration route shows why… 

Swainson's_hawk_migration_route

This fine raptor is definitely not worth travelling to Abaco in the hope of encountering. Managing to find one, identify it and photograph it, is a considerable achievement. Well-known Bahamas bird authority Bruce Hallett not only did so, but got great pictures of this juvenile bird both in flight and perched. No other sighting is recorded for Abaco; and few if any have ever been seen in the Bahamas generally.

Swainson's Hawk (imm), Abaco - Bruce Hallett

Swainson's Hawk (imm), Abaco - Bruce Hallett

WHO WAS MR SWAINSON?

Swainson was one of the early ornithologists  – along with men such as Wilson, Cory, Kirtland and La Sagra – whose name is now inextricably bound to the birds they became associated with. Swainson is the  ‘owner’ of 3 bird species recorded for Abaco: a hawk, a thrush and a warbler. I have previously written about him and these birds, so to find out more about him click SWAINSON.

WHAT DO THESE BIRDS SOUND LIKE?  

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE IN FLIGHT?

A ringed Swainson’s Hawk in its more familiar territory – ColoradoButeo swainsoni (Pharoah Hound Wiki)

Credits: Photos, Bruce Hallett, Wiki (last); Migration Map, open source; videos, as shown

WILLIAM SWAINSON, ORNITHOLOGIST: 224 YEARS OLD TODAY


Swainson William 1789-1855.jpg

WILLIAM SWAINSON, ORNITHOLOGIST: 224 YEARS OLD TODAY

Happy Birthday, William Swainson, 224 years old today, honoured with a Google emblem, and… oh, sorry, we’ve run out of tiny candles for your cake… 

william-john-swainsons-224th-birthday-5655612935372800-hp

Swainson (1789 – 1855) was an English ornithologist, entomologist, conchologist, natural historian, and a gifted illustrator of the natural world. He was a pioneer of the new lithographic technology, which enabled quicker reproduction of his work than engraving.

Moluccan King Parrot from Zoological Illustrations
Swainson lent his name to a number of avian species, three of which may be found on Abaco. These are the Swainson’s Hawk, Thrush and Warbler. The hawk is a rare visitor; the thrush is a transient, passing through the Bahamas during migration; and the warbler is a hard-to-find winter resident. Here are the three species, courtesy of AUDUBON.ORG and for each, an illustrative video.
∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞  ∞
SWAINSON’S HAWK Buteo swainsoni
Swainson's Hawk Swainson's Hawk

Swainson's_Hawk_b57-1-276_l

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyUf8ls10QY]

SWAINSON’S THRUSH Catharus ustulatus

 Swainson's Thrush Swainson's Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpLnRUnoJNQ]

SWAINSON’S WARBLER Limnothlypis swainsonii

Swainson's Warbler Swainson's Warbler

SwainsonsWarbler_Scott_Somershoe

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU8-FcUhGVE]