[Tweeters] Large kettle of large birds ID question

Lonnie Somer mombiwheeler at gmail.com
Wed Sep 28 14:57:21 PDT 2016

Hi Tweeters,

I was birding on the Highline College campus in Des Moines around 2:15 this
afternoon when I spotted a large kettle of birds quite a distance away to
the north, probably not far from the Sound's coast (hard to be certain).
Combined, they were in a very loosely formed egg-shaped formation, with
some toward the top, the majority in the middle, and a smaller amount at
the bottom. I estimated that there were at least 50 birds. They were too
far away for me to see any specific details, but they were shaped like
Red-tailed Hawks with broad wings and relatively short, broad tails, and
the size seemed about right. They were definitely not crows, gulls, or
Turkey Vultures. They were all riding a thermal higher and higher, mostly
soaring, but some would occasionally rapidly flap to gain some altitude.
I watched them for about 5 minutes until they drifted out of sight. So my
question is this: is it possible that they were a very large group of
Red-tailed Hawks (or maybe even a mixed flock of hawks) that were gaining
altitude to cross the water? I had never seen anything quite like this and
really wished that I had my scope with me. Thanks.

Lonnie Somer

mombiwheeler at gmail.com
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