Red-Shouldered Hawks

12Mar15

There is an embarrassment of riches in raptors these days.

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The other night it rained (slightly) and the next morning I decided to neglect my responsibilities for a short bit and take a walk in Tilden Park to photograph what I saw. I was picturing in one of the meadows I frequent and out of the corner of my eye saw a largish bird fly by (thank you peripheral vision, you work as intended).
By now I’m somewhat trained and I was able to quickly track and follow where the bird flew. Indeed it was raptor. But a few leaves were in my way so I quietly moved position to get a better view. It flew somewhere else. I slowly walked in that direction and found the bird again, perched high in a Eucalyptus tree. It stayed there long enough for me to observe it, maybe 40 yards out.
Suddenly, a second bird flew in and landed a few feet from the first bird. Holy cow, two raptors side by side. The second bird was smaller than the first. Then, as I was watching them through my binoculars, the second bird jumped on top of the first and… it was like watching the Nature TV show in 3D! Wow. No time wasted on romance – just get the job done and fly off. We may see eggs someday soon.
After photographing more trees I searched the bird app on my phone and discovered that they were Red-Shouldered Hawks. I’ve seen some kind of raptor in that meadow before, so presumably they hang out there. Probably a good spot to capture prey.
BTW the local Peregrine Falcon seems to have moved on, but we are still keeping an eye out for it. The tree, though tall and graceful, is pretty thin, and perhaps not optimized for stable nesting.
Hold on… it’s back!
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