Weekend Birding: Red-tailed Hawk
Last week I posted a link to live streaming video of a Red-tailed Hawk nest atop a light pole on Cornell University’s athletic field. The eggs had just hatched and viewers could get an up-close look at the chicks and the parents.
While Red-tailed Hawks are common across North America, they are usually seen circling high above open fields or perched at the top of tall tree or telephone pole. So imagine my surprise when I came almost face-to-face with one earlier this week while out taking photos of flowers.
The hawk was on a low branch moving his head back and forth searching for a meal. In the surrounding trees were many smaller birds all chirping out warning calls. The robins were flying around him and swooping down to create a distraction. Even the little goldfinches were making a lot of noise. Most likely one of the little birds had a nest in the immediate area.
After about 10 minutes of harassment from the little birds, he flew down to the ground. I followed and was able to get within 10 feet of him for a nice series of close-ups. I’m not sure what he was looking at in the tree but he gave up after a few minutes, flew to a few more trees and then soared off to a different area of the park.
I’m not sure if this is a male or female, but based on the size of the bird, it’s probably a male. Females are about 25% bigger than males and this bird was only about 20 inches.
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.
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