In the past I made mention of how we have noticed a distinct difference between the birds in South Carolina and Florida.
Below is a close up of a Red-shouldered taken in the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, southern Florida.
Size wise I think they are the same. Where I see the difference is the chest, head, and leg coloring. The Florida birds seem to have less of the red/brown coloring.
Both the Florida and South Carolina birds shown here live in a similar habitat. Swamps surrounded by forest, Florida had more of a Pine forest, however the South Carolina birds were near large pine also.
Light plays into this and the images here certainly have more sun on the Florida samples. However previous photographs with different light have shown a difference. Also there was only a 3 week difference in the photographing of both samples. Mating season should be about the same.
Below are South Carolina Hawks taken in a forest and swamp environment. The swamp here was more Cypress and Tupelo Trees than Florida.
Diet in both areas should be close.
The wings appear close, however the chest and head feathers are now much more red and distinct.
I did not want to provide any full front South Carolina birds since the time frame between the images would have been greater. I want to compare birds that should be in the same cycle. Mating plumage would change the appearance quite a bit.
I might be completely wrong, but we have had this conversation before with no thought of comparing images like this.
So… just a thought.