I didn't get far before I had to pull over onto the shoulder. No, it wasn't a Prius challenge. It was the very big black and white bird sitting atop the tree in my neighbor's yard.
Note the legs - feathered all the way to the toes
I grabbed my camera, rolled down the window and took a quick shot
When I opened the door to get out of my car, the bird took off.
I knew what it is. Look at the distinctive black marks on its wrists...
...and the broad black band and white at the base of the tail. Another distinguishing characteristic - that I didn't see - is hovering (like a kestrel) over a prey item (usually a rodent, but occasionally a bird).
It's a light morph Rough-legged Hawk, the second I've seen in the neighborhood since October.
These birds breed in the arctic and sub-arctic regions. They migrate south, and over-winter in Canada and the US near airports and in agricultural areas where rodents are plentiful. That's a good description of my neighborhood. In addition to the corn and soybean fields, there's a very small private airport 2 miles up the road.
Rough-legs are known for hunting from perches in the winter - and my neighbor's tree provides a great view of surrounding cornfields. They're often seen scavenging at roadkills.
Rough-legged Hawk Christmas Bird Count data