Text and photos by Joel Such
On January 19, 2009, my mom and I were on our way to a birding hotspot on the South Platte River. While driving down a rural road, I spotted two Bald Eagles and three Red-tailed Hawks riding thermals. We pulled over to watch the show. One of the Red-tailed Hawks looked like an unusual pale juvenile, so I pointed the camera at it and fired away. Looking at my field guide in the car, I thought it might be a Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk.
While researching at home, I concluded that Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk would be very rare for Colorado, so I began to lean towards the similar looking light phased Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk. After sending my photos to Bill Schmoker for his opinion, the photos were further sent around to notable hawk experts. It was settled that the bird I’d seen was indeed a Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk! No one would have believed me (including myself) without the photographs I took that day.