Pheathers – Backyard Hawk

It’s always a thrill to look out the window and see a hawk in one of our trees. The songbirds aren’t happy and scatter for hours when the hawk visits, but the beauty of the bird thrills me, especially when he poses for me so prettily. 

“A skilled hawk hides his talons.” 

                                                ~ Japanese Proverb

24 thoughts on “Pheathers – Backyard Hawk

  1. Kathy, from his light colored eyes you can tell he is a juvenile – they will turn a dark reddish brown when he is an adult and his tail feathers will turn red. I’ve learned so much about Red-Tailed Hawks due to the Cornell U. cams and our 2 birders (husband & wife team) on the ground who follow and livestream them on a daily basis. Besides the joy your hawk brings you just by appearing, he’ll take care of any pests you have (voles, squirrels, chipmunks, mice and rabbits). 😉

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    1. Timelesslady

      I love the markings on his breast. Thank you for letting me know about the eyes. We have several hawks and birds of prey in our neighborhood now. Years ago we never saw them. I am posting a photo of an eagle we saw near the Delaware Bay this past weekend later in the week. I’m so glad the big birds are thriving.

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      1. I believe his eye color will change around 2 years of age. Arthur, Big Red’s (BR) mate had light eyes when he began courting her (last year) and during this year we noted his eye color had darkened. BTW, Big Red is around 14-16 years old and Arthur is now around 2 yrs. old. 😄. Sadly, in the spring of 2017, when Ezra, her former mate, had to be euthanized due to a severe injury, our birders on the ground observed her chasing after Red-tails in the sky for months looking for Ezra. They had been together for 9+ years. BR rejected all suitors until Arthur began wooing her. Due to his young age, there was speculation they wouldn’t successfully breed (possible infertile eggs) but… success and she laid 3 viable eggs earlier this year. We went through chick withdrawal in 2017 after Ezra’s death- no Cornell nest cam to observe/no chicks.

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          1. Aren’t those cams wonderful? In 2013, Cornell’s cam. caught the most touching moment. BR was covering their young chicks and it was pouring rain and hailing. Ezra stood over her to protect them from the elements. Talk about an awwww moment. We were all mesmerized, what a caring mate. You can view it at youtube (only a little over 3 minutes long):

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            1. The individual who posted it at YT added a music sound track. I recognized his name, he was one of the chatters in the hawk cam community. I didn’t particularly like that addition but it is a short video. I turned off the sound.

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    1. chattykerry, as I had mentioned above to Kathy, I follow the Cornell University’s breeding pair of Red-tailed Hawks (Big Red – female and Arthur, her new mate). I also subscribe, via flickr, to an amazing wildlife photographer, Christine Bogdanowicz, who has annually chronicled our Cornell breeding pair and their chicks. The jays will shriek whenever the hawks come around because the hawks have raided the jays’ (and other birds’) nests and taken their nestlings to feed themselves or their chicks. Here is a photo (link below) she took which captures this event You can see the jay nestling in the talons of the hawk. If you have a flicker acct., Christine is so worth following to see all the creatures she photographs.

      Cornell Red-tailed Hawk, Big Red with Blue Jay nestling (June 2018)

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      1. That is a fabulous photograph! Thank you for sending it. My husband has a Flickr account, so I will try to link him to Christine. He spotted one of our parent red tailed hawk carrying off a little blue bundle of feathers… My neighbor saw a Cooper’s hawk blissfully eating a sparrow. We have at least two breeding pairs of red tail hawks close to us, a great horned owl who snacks on our striped and spotted skunks and the bald eagles are due back any day now. What a wonderful world it is! I am about to write a critter tale and will let you know when it is uploaded.

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        1. A wonderful world indeed and thank goodness we have the technology to view all this in real time. I look forward to reading your tale, chattykerry. When I began observing the RTH’s via Cornell in 2012, I use to cringe when I saw the adults bringing little chipmunks and other furry creatures for their chicks but, in a very short while I came to realize it is a necessity for their survival. Moreover, it isn’t as if they are taking rare wildlife. I’ve also seen the Cornell hawks feed their tiny chicks snakes and frogs.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Timelesslady

            I dislike chipmunks. They are really cute, but one of the worst rodents to have in your yard. Our neighborhood is often overrun with the critters by mid-summer. My neighbor broke her wrist a few years ago getting her foot caught in one of their burrows. They are a scourge. We trap them in have-a-heart cages and drive them away from the house to railroad tracks with a lot of brambles and brush for them to make new burrows in. This summer, I took one I captured away to the tracks. Beside the tracks are baseball fields. When I opened the trap the chipmunk ran out but chose the wrong direction. He ran for the open fields. I was horrified, surprised and fascinated all at the same time, when a large hawk swooped in a graceful circle, grabbed the chipmunk, and completed the circle back to the tree he must have been perched in. It is something I will never forget.

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            1. Awww, Kathy, you are to kind to the chippies. How ironic it became a meal for a hawk. They aren’t very big (probably need 3 or more to fill their crops) but still great the hawk caught it. Now, it may be waiting for you to return with more of them.

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  2. Pingback: Phriday Phads, Pheathers & A Photo Challenge – Pull Up a Seat – MINDING MY P'S WITH Q

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