**BE WARNED… this one is going to get gruesome y’all.
Raptors look as raptors do because raptors do what raptors do. They kill things daily. They look fierce because that brow ridge protects their precious eyes during all manner of prey related entanglements. That down-curved bill tapering to a point makes short work of anything that resembles flesh.
“they look so regal…” “they look so dignified and proud…” “they look so cool”
Yup, they look that way because they are predators. IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH TURN BACK NOW. SERIOUSLY. Two pictures down is a mouse getting its head and face removed. No joke.
A Red-tailed Hawk doesn’t have the slightest thing resembling mercy. It has a thing called hunger, and it must be satisfied. Cue head and face removal photo…
There is no caption that can fix this.
This girl Cooper’s Hawk is too young to hunt on her own so she gets meals delivered by her parents.
The adults often prepared the food by removing the feathers and head (a commission for the hunt). Any guesses on dinner? House Sparrow? House Finch?
Red-shouldered Hawk looking regal? Noble? Dignified?
Here it is eating a freshly caught pigeon. It worked on it for a long… long time.
This is all that remained.
All that pigeon now resides in the hawk’s crop and it is not a flattering look. I honestly wondered if it could even fly.
The answer was no… it could only waddle up into a tree and sit for hours. How’s that for dignified?
I’ll leave you with another fairly intense image of another bird of prey – the fiendishly cold-blooded Great Blue Heron.
A young Cooper’s Hawk with a pre-plucked and prepared meal from its parents.
At Sutro Heights, a 13 year old male Redtail finds yet another meal.
Red-shouldered Hawks at the Palace of Fine Arts got accustomed to catching pigeons for a living.
A Red-shouldered Hawk with a Pigeon at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Caught by the leg and the wing, a Pigeon goes for a ride courtesy a Red-shouldered Hawk. The mobbing Crow caused the hawk to drop its prey and the Pigeon swam to shore and survived.
A Red-shouldered Hawk goes fishing! The first photographic documentation of this behaviour.