Hot Hawk


95 degrees in the shade, well if there was any shade. Man it was hot, and what on earth is a young Redtail doing in the middle of all this? I’ve never seen one out here before, a few miles south of Mercey Hot Springs.


Is it injured? Is it sick? It sure is keeping a close eye on the skies.


What is that bloody mark on its head above, and in front of, the eye? Weird. Wow, it is hot as blazes. I should just get back into my car and leave.


I’ve been spotted. Oh, that looks like a little string of meat not an injury. Still, this bird is acting weird, rolling its neck around and looking dazed in the heat.


Oh good, it is taking off. So it’s healthy enough for flight then. Perhaps it will find some shade in the nearby gully.


Oh! I get it now. That dazed look was a food coma. And those shifty skyward glances and raised hackles were in defense of your meal, off of which you have meticulously stripped little strings of flesh in this blazing heat. You’ve only been out of the nest for a couple of months at most, so this might be your first snake… I see you are finally flying toward the gully like a hawk with good sense to go with your predatory prowess. Good luck to you.

15 responses

  1. What a fun post. Great story. I hope he made it safely out of there! Thanks for sharing.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:46 am

  2. Si! Great narrative and great images as you walk us through the mystery-hawk encounter! Z

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 am

  3. Roberta Reeners

    Excellent! Photos AND narrative both!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:58 am

  4. Beautiful!! I’ve sat several times staring at the same food-coma trance of a hawk, thinking it was injured (and not seeing the prey)… Love the unfolding images/story.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:11 am

  5. Wow! what great photography and a good story to go with it. I saw a beautiful huge red tail in the shadows of a wooded area eating a snake with his wings totally spread out. Perfect camoflage–I was on top of him before I could see him.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:54 am

  6. Sandy Slichter

    So glad this had a good ending, wasn’t sure at the start. And it’s always a learning experience, you give us so much, thanks!

    June 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

  7. Enjoyed the narrative. Was a bit worried about the bird. Glad it was okay.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

  8. Bella Remy Photography

    What an amazing moment to capture

    June 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm

  9. Your photos… your words. Always amazing!

    June 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

  10. Joyful Art Stuff

    great photos – what a beautiful bird – looks like you’re out in the never never

    June 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

  11. Great sequence of photos and story. It sure looks hot.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm

  12. I like Your comments under photos 😉
    superb, as well as photos 😉

    June 21, 2012 at 2:46 am

  13. harleybird

    Hawks are awesome! Great post and photos.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:08 am

  14. Great photos!!

    I think your hawk caught a very red San Joaquin Coachwhip [Coluber flagellum ruddocki], “a species of special concern due to extensive land use changes in its restricted range”

    Our western coachwhips have a slashing defensive bite, and if you are thoughtless enough to chase one [in my experience, and according to other observers], this snake may turn the tables on you or climb up into a small tree or shrub in order to confront you at eye level. I’ve heard that one of SoCal’s best known herpers has a scar across the bridge of his nose thanks to a big Red Racer [Coluber flagellum piceus].

    All this is to suggest that the raised hackles and the blood on the hawk’s face might be the result of a real struggle and a well-aimed defensive strike — but if that’s the case [again from my experience] the cut should heal just fine.

    June 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm

  15. bikesbirdsbeaches

    Lovely sequence of photos and story!

    June 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm

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