When birding, the most obvious choice is usually the correct one. For instance, a Red-tailed Hawk with a whitish head or tail in Utah is almost certainly a Harlan's (top, Utah), not a Krider's (bottom, Oklahoma). Not saying a Krider's couldn't be seen here, that would be silly...birds have wings. Just saying that the likely candidate should be considered and ruled out before accepting the less obvious choice.
This is true for most birds....of course rarities occur, but turning something into the rarer bird while overlooking the obvious choice is easy to do. Also, its easy to focus on plumage when trying to identify a rare bird or separating two similar-looking birds. But structure and call are often the clinching trait to note. I often see posts about songbirds, shorebirds, etc. that are tough ID's, and the call or shape is never mentioned. I understand, they don't always call, but sometimes they do. Just a post to keep in mind, I don't know it all of course...just like to blog.
Labels: identification, raptors