Montaņa de Oro Raptor Identification Tips
By Freeman Hall, (edited by Mike Baird Docent Pages  Rev. 18 February, 2008)

Large dark birds  (slow wing flapping)
Turkey Vulture

Wings two-toned and held upward in V; small head
Golden Eagle

Wings rectangular-shaped and held flat; large head
Mid-size soaring birds  (more rapid wing flapping)
Red-tailed Hawk

Wing shape is “chunky” with dark patagial mark
Red-shouldered Hawk

Wings and breast reddish; bold tail bars
Swainson’s Hawk

Wings two-toned w/white lining and held upward
Ferruginous Hawk

Nearly all white below; wings held upward and pointed
Mid-sized birds usually flying quite low  (seldom hovering)

Wings quite long & w/crook and dark wrists
Northern Harrier

Wings held upward; white rump patch
Smaller birds with pointed wings  (rapid wing flapping)
Peregrine Falcon

Dark appearance and deep wing strokes
Prairie Falcon

Dark wing marks near body
American Kestrel

Quite small and hovering flight

Dark, like a small Peregrine but only faint mustache
Smaller birds with rounded wings  (three flaps and a sail)
Cooper’s Hawk

Long barred tail with curved white tip
Sharp-shinned Hawk

Long barred tail with square tip