These first three digiscope images were taken Monday, December 16, 2002 at Nine Acre Corner, Concord/Sudbury MA. In the aftermath of the snowfall, the lighting wasn't very good, but suffice it to say -- this is a richly colored Redtail!

The heavy, blocky belly band is narrow in the middle and get wider on the flanks... not a characteristic of eastern birds... until recently.

Even though this is some kind of adult -- two years plus old -- because of the way it is sitting, the tail projects well beyond the end of the wings... you can't rely on this "field mark" to age it or distinguish it from other buteos until you observe a bird for some time and wait for it to shift position.

The black malar mark on a field of rich brown would not match any "Eastern Red-tailed Hawk" photo shown in any photo guide to date.
This was my first view of this bird Monday. Black-backed with wings now reaching the end of the tail.

I was quite a distance from this bird, but note the fine tail barring above the fairly prominent subterminal tail band. A western characteristic that you could find on a Redtail somewhere in MA this winter... if you looked at each and every bird you came across.

While this is a cool find, it is typical of many birds I have seen in MA, New England and the Northeast.

More Wintertail images ::::::)