Red-tailed hawk

A red-tailed hawk is doing neck rolls as he awaits his next meal. He caught my eye when he flew from the sugar maple to the choke cherry. He perched patiently while I scrambled to first get my binoculars and then to replace the battery in the camera I haven’t used in ages. I did get a good look at him and this not very good photo. His head feathers are a reddish brown, rufous I would call them. Sibley calls his breast feathers streaked. All his plumage is fluffing in the wind.

More commonly I detect his presence — and he is a resident here — when his shadow sweeps across the garden. That means I don’t usually have all the time I’ve had this morning to study him perched on a branch. He is a massive bird. This I can tell from his shadow. He is very broad; his tail short and his beak hooked. I’m glad not to be a small mammal in the meadow.

The birds who come into the feeder are not disturbed by his presence, since he is primarily a consumer of small mammals. It’s below freezing this morning, which may explain why he is meal hasn’t yet appeared. I had to leave for a meeting before he left his lookout so I can’t report on his meal.

  1. Ilene Cohen said:

    Definitely glad you’re not a small mammal.

  2. Beverly Hodgson said:

    Great report. My most recent bird sighting is a robin in Central Park, which cheered me incredibly, but I know you’ll say robins are around all winter. xx


  3. David Parish said:

    Lucky you–and lucky hawk that you have given it a meadow to hunt.

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