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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Red-Shoulder Alert!

  Backyard birdwatching never gets boring. Just when things look peaceful and quiet all ‘you-know-what’ breaks out. I was watching a few birds at my feeder this morning when all of a sudden they panicked and quickly scattered to the nearest cover. In most cases that only means one thing – a raptor is nearby. Sure enough at that very moment I noticed a hawk flying low across the backyard, eventually landing on top of my unoccupied purple martin house. It was a red-shouldered hawk.

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The red-shouldered hawk is a medium-sized hawk. They feed mostly on small mammals, but will hunt birds also. During winters, they sometimes habituate to preying on birds commonly found at bird feeders. Red-shoulders typically wait atop a perch and swoop down on their prey in a surprise attack method.

Look how his head turns 180 degrees to survey the yard behind him.

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He eventually took off empty handed (or empty talon in this case) to hunt elsewhere.

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Take a good look at the photo above and you can see its reddish "shoulder" on the top side of its right wing, hence the name red-shouldered hawk.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and be sure to stop by Birdfreak’s Blog for more great bird photos in this weeks edition of Bird Photography Weekly #124.

13 comments:

mick said...

Beautiful photos of the hawk but I am rather glad it missed getting any of the little birds at your feeder.

gwendolen said...

What an interesting unexpected visitor. Very exciting.

dreamfalcon said...

nice shots. It looks pretty funny having that raptor on that house :-)

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

Nice- thanks for the description of how it got its name. Is this one of those birds that got its name from someone looking at a dead specimen? That red shoulder looks hard to see with the naked eye!

Connie Kogler said...

What a super cool yard bird!

Vickie said...

Great images! They are such cool birds. Though I don't wish to have my little birds predated, I surely love seeing red-shouldered hawks when they appear.

Larry said...

Red-shouldered Hawks are my favorite Buteo. Their markings are so gorgeous, especially when in flight. You got some excellent shots of this bird Alan, sitting atop your martin house.

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful shots!

Kelly said...

...always one of my favorite raptors. I love the rich coloring in their feathers. Great photos! Love seeing him on the bird house...

Jen said...

Awesome photos!

Linda said...

What a cool bird! Thanks for posting the pictures.

Zev said...

What beautiful pictures. How interesting that it landed on your feeder like that.

Markcuda said...

Shoot it.
This spring, it will get your martins.