Gender Confusion

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Although Hawkmadinebwog does not profess to be the highest authority on raptors, we have recently made the informed decision to call Hawkmadinejad by female pronouns. There is no absolute way for us to tell if the campus hawk is male or female other than DNA sex testing or actually watching Hawkma mate or lay an egg. This is because there is no uniform difference in coloration between male and female red-tailed hawks. Most raptors are not differently colored for each sex, though the common, local American Kestrel is one of the exceptions. The male American Kestrel has slate-blue wings, whereas the female does not:

More reasons for the decision and raptor information after the jump.

Perhaps if Hawkma takes a mate, we will be able to figure out with certainty as to its sex. Although most male and female raptors of the same species have the same coloration, they also exhibit sexual size dimorphism. This means that there is a difference between the size of males and females. In raptors, the females are the larger of the sexes, with female red-tailed hawks up to 30% larger than the males.

However, there is plenty of overlap in the size of the sexes, so it is almost impossible to tell the sex of a single raptor as it perches by itself in a branch as our Hawkma does. After making observations and talking with other birders, the conclusion seems to be that our bird is on the larger side of the 19-25 inch range of red-tail size (in terms of length). Therefore, Hawkmadinebwog will use female pronouns to refer to the bird we have named Hawkmadinejad, just as we have assumed it is the same hawk that was the juvenile that started hanging around campus about this same time last year.

See in the picture below: the smaller hawk above the other one is more likely to be male.

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  1. aw!  

    the kestrels are adorable!

  2. JDS  

    maybe Hawkmadinejad is gay

  3. Easy Way  

    To tell if Hawkmadinejad is a gal - after mating, see if it eats the head of its partner.

  4. DHI  

    It just sounds awkward because Ahmadinejad is a dude...although, like a hawk, he is smaller than your average female human.

  5. is sie genderqueer  

    To me, /she/ is more endearing when i think of /her/ as female. /Her/ grotesque killings are easier to take.

    As an aside, in the interest of being completely accurate as well as in reference to the title of the post, "Gender Confusion," Bwog should consider using gender-neutral pronouns in reference to Hawkma. The somewhat-standards in the genderqueer community are 'sie' for he or she and 'hir' (pronounced like hear or here) for his or her.

    To me, /sie/ is more endearing when i think of /hir/ as female. /Hir/ grotesque killings are easier to take.

  6. why must  

    we define gender? Perhaps Hawmedinejad would prefer to be neither.

  7. Photoshop contest?  

    Riot Hwwwk

  8. Ooh.  

    Can we arbitrarily decide that s/he is gay, given that Ahmadinejad is a raging homophobe?

  9. Solution  

    Let's just not use any pronouns to refer to Hawkmadinejad. Hawkmadinejad will be referred to only as Hawkmadinejad. It seems appropriately reverential anyway.

  10. 2 things

    1. if hawkma is gay, then she wont exist. they dont have that phenomenon in her country.

    2. gender neutral pronouns are awkward and do nothing to challenge heteronormativity

  11. Sprinkles

    If Hawkamdinejad did mate with another hawk, how would we tell which is Hawkmadinejad and which is the love interest? One would look bigger than the other, but otherwise so similar that we probably wouldn't be able to tell them apart.

    In other news, I have gay parakeets.

    Bring it on.

  12. Yojimbot

    hey hawk lovers,

    I did a Harlem Hawk Walk on Saturday. Here's the results:

    The two adults you guys are seeing are the Cathedral pair. The juvenile on your campus is who I've been calling Hawkmadenijad.

  13. eeeee  

    ee birds
    i wanna hug em ^_^

  14. Yojimbot

    So it seems the juvy that I call Hawkma, may be injured. My friend RBS has a blog that documents the injury. Let me know if anyone has any additional info.

    • rbs

      To clarify what Yojimbot just said...

      Christmas afternoon there was an immature hawk hunting along Broadway at 112th St. Nothing was obvious but pictures suggest it has an injury and may not be able to use its left foot.

      There have been several hawk activity reports on Broadway around 110th over the last couple weeks, so this juvie hawk may be hanging about the area.

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