Posts tagged “Red-tailed Hawk

A Simple Tail

Yeah, they are common… and this is a bird on a stick photo… but I sure do love me a Red-tailed Hawk.

Chocolate Bird

At the Berkeley Marina, after a long rain, a special bird arrived. Redtail plumage is wonderfully variable and it is always a treat to see a dark Redtail passing through during migration season.

Resident birds tend to be more glue-footed and less flighty, but migrants are understandably more wary.

I was a long way off, perhaps twice the distance most Redtails are comfortable with, and this RT was clearly more interested in a field devoid of humans. Lesson learned. Don’t assume all birds react in the same way. Pay attention to each individual and act accordingly.

in the sun
I was glad to look back as I was leaving and see the bird had returned to hunting the area. What a glorious hawk.


Farewell to an Old Friend

This bird was deeply important to me. I have dear friends now that I wouldn’t have met without her, and a range of singular experiences and memories that only months spent with a wild bird can offer. She had a good six years and I’m glad she lived her last days in a beautiful California valley and likely died of natural not human causes. Fly on Patch… fly on.

Find out more about her here: KITUNDU.COM/PATCH

New Post at 10,000 Birds

Want to see the other side of this image? Be brave, head on over to 10,000 Birds and check it out.

BLW is back

Hey folks, BLW is back in action after a brief hiatus. Sometimes life is like that. I was busy learning to surf and falling in love… you know how it goes. Well, now you can expect your dose of birdly goodness every few days on the regular. Starting with a new 10,000 Birds post tomorrow.

Brewer’s Backpack

A Red-tailed Hawk sporting a nice look for the summer.

Feeding a Fledgling

Most of the time I’ve seen prey delivered to a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk it’s dropped off and the kid is left to sort it out. This was the first time I’d seen a parent feeding a young bird who had already fledged. It was a sweet moment.

In Perfect Feather

A brand new Red-tailed Hawk that hasn’t even scuffed a tail feather yet. Sharp. Very sharp.

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.

Redtail in Flight

Half Moon Bay, CA.

Redtails are the Best

Sorry for the lull in my posting. Life is like that sometimes. BLW will be back up to speed soon… but the break is a good thing for now. Please feel free to root around and check out past posts, or pay a visit to the talented folks in the list on the right.

P.S. this is the 300th BIRD LIGHT WIND post in the last 14 months.

Redtail Contours

Sunning on the Cross

A young Red-tailed Hawk suns her wings on a favorite perch, the cross of a church overlooking the gopher-strewn terraces of Alta Plaza Park.

Snake for Supper

Catching snakes is a little trickier than catching gophers. Snakes have reach. That dangerous head needs to be dealt with as soon as possible but in the case above, mobbing blackbirds are diverting her attention. This is an adult female Red-tailed Hawk that mated for several seasons with a resident male at Sutro Heights Park. He was over 13 years old when I checked his band number and if he’s still around that would make him over 15. Incredible.

Head for the sea and the Blackbirds eventually give up.

While aloft, she administers a fatal bite to the back of the head and can fly on without the snake writhing and attempting to bite her back.

Proceed at Your Peril

**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.

Redtail Glory

Here are a few oldies but goodies from the raptorial bonanza at Half Moon Bay a few years ago.

A young Red-tailed Hawk flying circles around me while evading crows and figuring out the challenging wind conditions on the coast.

City Hawk

Over the gray sprawl of San Jose a large female Red-tailed Hawk surveys the landscape, stretching her wings after a long shift on her nest which is perched on a hill at the base of Mount Hamilton.

Other Than the Star

So while the Falcated Duck was stealing the show, I managed a few other images from that trip to Colusa. There were plenty os Snow Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, American and Eurasian Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Coots, Harriers, Egrets, etc… but for some reason I spent more time watching than clicking. Here is a Cinnamon Teal Hideout.

A young Red-tailed Hawk explored areas near the water’s edge.

I like the lovely extension, wings to feet, head to tail.

Leafless trees make for easier bird watching… but they can watch you just as easliy.

Falcated Duck or not, the Northern Pintail is a sharp dresser.

Here is an extra view that I can’t stand to leave out of this post.

Tomorrow we’ll get back to Tanzania.

Berkeley Marina Redtail

I spent about an hour with a young Red-tailed Hawk along the road to the marina last week. So now you get a big fat post full of gratuitous hawk images.

First year birds spend more time hop-scotching around chasing down any movement in the grass below. Eventually they learn a few lessons, settle down, and become more efficient hunters.

Speeding through the skies in the hope that the next streetlight will provide a better vantage point.

Detecting movement on the ground, the hawk quickly closes in.

Wings and tail are held high when it smacks into the ground trying to grasp a gopher before it disappears below.

If you missed it the first time… try digging.

If I were to anthropomorphize, which I wouldn’t, I’d say this bird is frustrated, but I’d never say that.

Off to try its luck elsewhere with a Berkeley resident giving chase.

Gazing at another streetlight as it ascends to try its luck again.

Eventually the Berkeley hills looming in the distance prove irresistible and the Redtail heeds the call.

Bird on a Wire

A departing adult Redtail near Holister, CA.

Focusing on this guy made me miss the high point of an epic Redtail vs. Golden Eagle encounter… but… hey, it’s a Western Bluebird. He was doing an imitation of MC Hammer’s typewriter dance down the wire… worth it.

A lady Kestrel flares off the line.

Occasionally you’ll see a Redtail on a wire but they tend to prefer a sturdier perch where they can hone their skills at impersonating insulators.

A Bounty of Eagles on Quien Sabe Road

I’d heard reports of people seeing 10-14 Golden Eagles near Quien Sabe Road near Panoche Valley so I went to see for myself. Within 4 minutes of turning onto the road I saw a distant Golden and once I rounded the bend another flew overhead.

A few minutes later I spotted this pair resting together on a hillside.

They seemed to like flying together as well.

There were even more eagles toward Santa Ana Valley Road.

Near Paicines Reservoir yet another Golden flew over the water followed by a pair of Red-tailed Hawks. Later while I was focusing on some Western Bluebirds I heard a Redtail scream and looked up to see the pair aggressively driving the Golden away.

In this shot the eagle is completely inverted after throwing it talons up at the Redtail which drifted away, satisfied that the eagle had gotten the message.

I’ll close out this post with a young Golden Eagle, also from the area near Quien Sabe.

More Fun With Slow Motion

Pine Siskins, House Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle… More to come.
The song is called “Circulatory.” I made it with turntables and a guitar.

10,000 Birds Post Today

Check out my 2nd post about this urban Red-tailed Hawk over at 10,000 Birds.

Strange Beauty

This Red-tailed Hawk is a great example of their variability. It had such warm and mixed up plumage and a heavily banded, short-ish tail, made even better by the setting sunlight. Photographed along the Great Highway, Ocean Beach, SF.

Too bad the curtains are drawn… this would be a great view (aside from the guy on the hill with the camera).