Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red-shouldered Hawk on a Roof

As I came around a group of tall trees at one corner, I saw a big brown shape on the corner of a roof – a Red-shouldered Hawk. It was just sitting there, out in full view, with only the cloudy sky for a background, with its back to me, but turning its head in profile. For several minutes I watched as it sat there, moving very little except to look around. No crows or jays were harassing it at the moment. Then it leaned out, spread wings and tail and flew – not far, at first. It paused in the top of a pine, facing me, where I got a brief but clear view of its heavily brown-streaked breast, and tail with narrow bands in shades of brown – a juvenile. From there, it flew to a treetop further away, where a horde of smaller birds discovered it and flew around it like furies, diving at it and perching in nearby branches. Blue Jays, a Mockingbird, even a Red-bellied Woodpecker took a dive at it once. But the Hawk ducked and stood its ground for several minutes before finally giving up and flying again, low, and out of my sight.

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