Drive just about anywhere in the Natomas Basin during the spring season and you are frequently able to see Swainson’s Hawk soaring overhead. One of the most often-asked questions of the Conservancy is one of Swainson Hawk identification.
Over the past 10 years or so, the Conservancy has attempted to find the best Swainson’s Hawk photo to facilitate identification and identification education. Recently, the work of photographer Rob McKay surfaced. One of McKay’s photos is an ideal Swainson’s Hawk identification aid (see photo with this posting). Note the coloration on the pictured bird. Not every Swainson’s Hawk looks just like this one. There are some exceptions, such as “dark morphs” or “intermediate morphs,” both of which can be seen in the Natomas Basin. But this photo, in addition to being strikingly beautiful, will help with identification on most Swainson’s Hawks spotted by the public. It’s one of our favorites, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!