Look Here, Mr. Hawk!

Something large flapped in the oak tree behind John’s head as we ate breakfast on the porch yesterday. We’d never seen any bird that large in our tree and thought it could be an owl, an eagle, or a hawk. It was hard to see its features because the sun was behind it. Three times it moved to a different branch until finally I saw the head and knew it was a hawk. When it stretched, I saw the feathers that looked like pantaloons around the legs. The pattern of dark feathers across its breast was distinctive, and I knew I was looking at a red tailed hawk. My photo, zoomed and taken through a screen, was not good at all, but I was proud of it.

100918 Red tailed hawk in our oak tree.JPG

There is a really good photo of the hawk in a similar pose in the Cornell Lab Merlin bird app for smart phones – http://merlin.allaboutbirds.org/download/. The app is free. It takes a lot of space, though, because the information is saved on the phone. You can use it where there is no cell connection. The lab is working on a computer version.

This morning John might have persuaded me to skip the walk because of weather, if he had not gone to the train club. I heard his NY radio station drifting about the house at 5 am and the rattle of ice at 5:45. The sleeping was good again until my alarm went off at 7. The weather radar map showed the rain had moved away, only it hadn’t. I was halfway to Connie’s house when it began to sprinkle. There was no guarantee the rain would stop, so I dragged my damp self home. Inside, the clock whispered that Logan might have missed the bus. If I had known for sure there was not a school holiday, I would have called.

40 thoughts on “Look Here, Mr. Hawk!

    1. Hello, Michelle. I agree, the hawk was beautiful. I was surprised at how clumsy he looked as he changed positions on the branch. The neighbor across the street said he was perched on her son’s swing set, trying to figure out how to get to the chickens.

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  1. We have a bunch of red-tailed hawks around here too. Always love to see them. They are great mousers. The other day I was walking my dog down the street and a hawk was flying directly toward us. all of a sudden, he realized we were there, did a quick bank, and flew off across the field, but I got a good look at him. I think it was a Cooper’s hawk. Beautiful!

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  2. What an amazing event 0- being so close to see the feather variations – and to watch him. The screen gives a bot of a mystic feel. Hawks are magical – we love to watch them in the neighborhood (although they are probably what caused the wild bunnies to disappear on the little island).
    You’re a fine feathered friend!

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    1. This was the first time I saw a hawk close enough to identify him. What we do still see are hundreds of bunnies. They scurry about our garden and show us their white tails as we walk. The rabbits are winning here!

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  3. I have seen some more hawks at the Park and it worries me as to the squirrels. It looks like the hawks at our Park, a Cooper’s Hawk. You were very up close with your photo Anne.


    1. In the Merlin bird app, it looks like the Cooper’s Hawk does not have the pantaloons or breast markings that the red tailed hawk has. We wondered about the squirrel that was flitting about the tree close to the hawk. He wasn’t interested!

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      1. That squirrel was lucky that the hawk didn’t pick him off. I took a lot of pics on Wednesday at Council Point Park … for a change it was a beautiful day, blue sky and very mild – I knew it was the last nice day before we dropped 30 degrees!! Anyway, I was taking some tree pictures because we were going to have 40 mph winds later and I thought the leaves might end up on the ground – I saw a huge bird gliding through the sky and it settled on a branch. I zoomed in on it and am positive it was a hawk. I couldn’t zoom as well as you did, but the size and shape of the tail has me convinced. I don’t like that as I think it is up there waiting to swoop down on a squirrel.


          1. I heard on the radio that an organization for the preservation of hawks was meeting at Metro Airport here in metropolitan Detroit this weekend. They are discussing the effects of global warming on raptors and it is in conjunction with the hawk migration I wrote about a couple of weeks ago … the raptor enthusiasts are here from all over the globe and they said the hawks that pass through Michigan on their migration south will end up as far as Brazil and other parts of South America. I like admiring the hawks and interacting with the squirrels and hopefully the two shall not meet … that was such a close call that morning on Stubby and I’d have witnessed it – even worse. I heard the Peregrine Falcon up in the sky chasing a medium-sized bird a few years ago. He was in pursuit and the bird was screeching – I looked up and saw the falcon in pursuit … made me feel sick and looked away, then no noise. Ugh … still think about it and wrote about it back the day it happened as I was shook up amongst some other events that morning: https://lindaschaubblog.net/2013/08/25/karma/


  4. They are amazing aren’t they? We get one periodically raiding the birds nests in the palm trees. Yep! We have them here too, in sunny California. I’m always amazed to see them disappear in the palm fronds and when they emerge, with their wings extended, they look immense and we wonder how they do it. Yours has more white on it than ours does. I guess ours has a tan. LOL


    1. It is amazing hawks can fold themselves into a palm tree without damaging a wing. A few photos in my bird app were darker than the one I saw. On the other hand, California is a trend-setter. Maybe hawks have their own California style.

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      1. LOL It could be. But yes, they shrink themselves quite well for a meal, I guess and you should hear the squawking and carrying on of the little birds whose young are at risk. Do you know that their cry will enlist the aid of other birds around and they too will join the fray? I’m surprised the hawk ever gets to eat.


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