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Bird Of Prey


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At first I thought this might be a Red-Shouldered Hawk, but now I think it looks more like a Ferruginous Hawk. It had just finished feasting on a nest of baby robins when I took the photo. It was still hungry and looking for something else on the ground. Look at those talons! I had tried to help the robins by throwing a whisk broom (what I happened to have in my hand at the time) up at the hawk, and I almost hit it a couple times. I'm sort of glad I didn't because it wouldn't be too wise to tangle with that bird. Later, I read up on hawks and learned that alot of them have a hard time making a go of it, and often starve in the winter, whereas robins, of course, are plentiful. A Ferruginous Hawk, if that is what this is, is one of the largest hawks in North America, with a wingspan of up to six feet.

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Here is video of the hawk, if anyone's interested.

http://s1355.photobucket.com/user/Daylilies-Flowers-Animals/media/Animals/2013-7-7Hawk_zps2ae9e568.mp4.html?filters[user]=132771370&filters[recent]=1&filters[publicOnly]=1&sort=1&o=0

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We don't normally get Ferruginous Hawks here in our area of the Northeast.

The one I have marked on my 'life list' was seen in Colorado.

Our clearing in the woods brings in dozens of Robins every year.

The Hawks that have been taking most of our Robins are the little Cooper's Hawks.

They are very woods oriented.

We have both Red Tails & Red Shouldered Hawks that come here as well.

Although they mostly take rodents we have seen both take Robins on occasion.

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Cool pictures and video!

At my home (also Northeast) we have a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks who visit every year. First the male came for a couple of years and then he found a mate. They arrive like clockwork in the Fall and their favorite perch is on a specific bent tree limb over a tiny frog pond on the edge of the woods in the backyard. I have always found it interesting that even though our bird feeders are just a few feet away, the songbirds have no fear of these hawks. I have never seen them go after a bird, although they relish frogs and any meat that we set out for them. The leftover turkey carcass at Thanksgiving is a favorite treat.

The songbirds seem to instinctively know that these hawks are not a threat. But if a Red-Tail or Cooper's is about, the little birds will scatter.

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I think you are probably right about it being a Red-tailed Hawk. It was the lack of rufous-colored legs that had me wondering. Here is what the Cornell Ornithology site says about it:

"Look for it along fields and perched on telephones poles, fenceposts, or trees standing alone or along edges of fields."

The hawk was perched on a lone, mostly-dead tree in an open space. I watched for over an hour to see it take off, but it just sat there and sat there and sat there...If I could have seen its spread wings, I probably could have ID'd it better. After the hawk finally left (which I missed), I found a young, very-recently-killed rabbit in the area. It had not been eaten at all, and still had a blade of grass in its mouth, as though it had been taken by surprise. There was a tuft of fur near it, but I couldn't see what caused it to die. Would the hawk have done that? I would think it would have stripped the rabbit down to the skeleton.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-tailed_Hawk/id

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Stacy, that's interesting that the hawks will eat meat you put out for them. I read somewhere online that hawks will reject any meat unless they actually killed it themselves. But I don't remember if the article was about one specific kind of hawk, or in general.

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Maybe it's because we put the food on a platform right next to the frog pond, below his favorite perch. It really is funny to see the "pecking order" in action with a turkey or chicken carcass. The two hawks will get their fill first while the crows "dance" around the perimeter of the area, hopping and squawking. They don't challenge the hawks though. And then, after the crows finish, the blue jays get to peck around at what's left.

I also saw an interesting bit of bird behavior a few days ago. I heard a lot of crow noise that sounded different than usual. The last time I heard unusual crow activity, I was treated to the sight of a bobcat so I wanted to see what this was about. Well, it was an adult crow feeding a very hungry and loud juvenile. They were side by side on a branch and the adult had a dead chipmunk slung over the branch, holding it with his/her foot. The adult was pulling pieces of meat from the chipmunk and feeding them to the screaming baby. Today the parent managed to keep the baby quiet with some stale bread.

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I once spent over an hour watching 2 families (3 Adults and 4 young) of Golden Eagles slaughter a field full of jackrabbits that had been driven there by the clearing of several near by fields for new construction. Most were killed and left where they lay. The Adults were teaching the young several ways of hunting the rabbits. It was incredible with the eagles sometimes less than 20 feet away.

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