10 Jun 2011

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tail's mate
Every spring I visit the nesting site of a pair of Red tailed hawks,  in hopes of sighting and perhaps even photographing their young.   The timing of my visits though have so far been off the mark, either that or this pair has yet to meet with success in their mating.   Although I sincerely hope that is not the case, it is a likely possibility.  Unfortunately their nest is situated in an area where pesticides and herbicides are sprayed often and freely, and many of these chemicals have very negative affects on the reproduction of birds.

Still, this pair of Red Tailed hawks do defend their nest site from intruders, by attacking and chasing off any possible threat, including other Hawks, Ravens and Crows.  Even Eagles.   Which serves to keep me hoping.

Adult Red Tailed Hawk
Although I never get any closer than forty feet to the nest when I visit, and only do so once or twice at most, lest they abandon the nest, their reaction is quite clear.  They consider me to be a threat and want me gone.   Circling above me screaming and performing mock stoops, aimed at me, is very effective communication on their part to let me know that in no uncertain terms. 

Taking flight

Once they realize that I will not approach the nest directly, they do calm down somewhat and retreat to the tree tops to scream at me from above.  However, if I once again wander too close to their nest, which I must do in order to leave the area, they take to the sky immediately to repeat their previous behavior.   This time when I visited was no different.

Circling above me
While it was definitely too late in the year for nestlings and fledgelings to be in, or near the nest, I had hoped to spot a juvenile Redtail or two.   But considering my late arrival at the site this season, I was doomed to disappointment.  Nevertheless I will be content with these latest photos until early next spring, when I fully intend to try again.


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