Here is a prime example of my father‘s favorite kind of temperature gauge. I photographed this red shouldered hawk yesterday morning when the wind chill factor was 35°F. Even if I had been sitting in my warm truck, I could have glanced over at this hawk and known that because he is almost as big around as he is tall … the air is cold. He has all of his feathers fluffed up as a nice warm blanket. Also note that he’s got his body lowered so that his feather blanket is mostly covering his feet … just like our warm winter slippers would do.
A juvenile red-shouldered hawk was out hunting for breakfast just below the Jordan Lake Dam and on the Haw River.
I followed a little of his hunt. Note his shoulders…they really are red!
Hawks at Jordan Dam Today; Whew, 3 species!!!!!
I had spent all winter trying to get a photo of the first hawk in this group of Buteo hawks.
Buteo hawks are all called broad-winged hawks which is confusing because in the group there is a Broad-Winged Hawk!
This morning a medium-sized hawk appeared from the hill above the dam: it was my elusive Broad-winged hawk.
Often confused with the red-shouldered hawk and even though it is fairly common,
is dismissed as a red-shouldered hawk and we don’t look twice.
Note the broad white tail stripe and the distinct black band that edges the trailing edge of the wing from wing-tips to body.
Looks very similar doesn’t it! But this hawk doesn’t have the broad black band lining the trailing edge of the wing.
BTW this is a juvenile; the other 2 hawks in this group are adults and that can add to the identification problems.
All 3 birds are similar, in part because of the body shape and broad-wings.
Look back at the wings of all three hawks.
Note just how much distance there is from leading edge to trailing edge of the wing: BROAD WINGS indeed!
The golden hour gilds not only bald eagles, but red-shouldered hawks too.
This juvenile was very intent on something across the swampy part of the cove.
His interest pegged up a notch and he tapped his foot in anticipation.
His kee-ah, kee-ah call announced his growing impatience and readiness to hunt.
He glanced intently at me, making very certain I was watching – all youngsters want attention!
Then he launched and I wished him luck on his hunt.
This juvenile red-shouldered hawk had a prize in his talon.
When he came out of the trees I thought he had a mouse.
But, no, it was a pinecone.
I have watched all sorts of immature raptors playing with sticks and pinecones.
Great way to build strength and agility for the hunt and future nest building.