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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spanish Bird of the Week #11: Booted Eagle

By James

Even before I became a birder, I was fascinated by birds of prey. Though I didn’t know exactly what I was looking at, I’ve always been excited to see a hawk flying overhead. Now that I have become a birder, little has changed. Sure I’m able to differentiate a Red-tailed Hawks from Red-shouldered Hawk, and Cooper’s Hawk from Northern Harrier, but I still enjoy seeing large predatory birds soar across the sky. During my stay in Spain, the most common bird of prey I saw I was the Booted Eagle.

I found the Booted Eagle very interesting, especially for an eagle. Eagles are supposed to be majestic flyers, the most powerful birds in the sky. But in reality, the Booted Eagle is a relatively small bird, far closer in size to a Red-tailed Hawk than the large Golden and Bald Eagles that frequent this side of the pond.

Just like the Red-tailed Hawk, I rarely if ever saw one perched. Instead, the small eagle simply soared directly overhead, catching thermals and circling high into the sky. Thankfully, one day I got a great look. While walking down the Guadalquivir river towards Parque Alamillo, I saw a large bird flying straight at me. Finally, instead of getting an awkward overhead shot, I got a real look at this awesome bird. 

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