Saturday, March 19, 2011

Red Tail Hawk

Every day, on my way home from work I pass this wonderful dead tree that sits at the edge of an open field.  I think it's beautiful even though it doesn't have any leaves.   

The Red Tail hawks pretty much love it too. because they sit in this tree on a regular basis to look for prey.   Here is a photo of a hawk sitting in the tree that I took last year.  I see this hawk pretty frequently; and you can see that he's looking right at me.

I took these photos last week on my way home from work.  There she/he was, sitting in the usual spot, overlooking his domain.  

I'm fascinated by hawks.  I try to read everything I can about them.  We have several different types that live here, and they're all beautiful.  

Here are two photos of what I believe is a young Cooper's Hawk.  Isn't he gorgeous!

After doing some reading, this is what I learned:  All raptors are classified as Falcaniforme, which includes eagles and hawks.  These are subdivided in the United States into four groups:   buteo, accipiter, kites, and harriers.   Red-tail Hawks are "broad-winged or soaring hawks," classified as Buteo jamaicensis.  They have large wings and relatively short tails used for soaring while searching for prey.  Most buteo species live in open area habitats like grasslands and prairies and mainly eat rodents and other small mammals.

Accipiter species include the Cooper's and Sharp-shinned hawks and are considered forest-dwelling hawks.  They have short, rounded wings and long rudder-like tails.  Their flight pattern consists of several rapid wing beats, short, gliding flight, followed by more rapid wing beats.  Their body shapes and flight pattern make them agile hunters of birds.  The number of accipiters had a serious decline in the 80s with the use of DDT and are now starting to stabilize.

All raptors are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.   Eagles, ospreys, hawks, falcons, kites, owls, vultures and all other native North American birds of prey are strictly protected, to include a prohibition against the taking or possession of their parts such as feathers or talons. The only exceptions generally allowed for individuals to these prohibitions require permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Educational and scientific institutions are exempted from most permit requirements.

Penalties for violations of the MBTA can go up to $15,000 and 6 months imprisonment for common violations. The sale or barter of migratory birds is a felony with penalties up to $500,000 and 2 years imprisonment. Some raptors, such as the bald eagle, are also protected under the Endangered Species Act, and both the bald and golden eagles are also protected under the Eagle Act.


Razzberry Corner said...

Hi Genny, I've been away in training in Baltimore all this week, but had to drive back and forth every morning and night. And so I haven't been able to keep up with the blog, along with the regular evening chores and study for the class, too. But I just read your blog posts now...

Isn't the weather just beautiful now! This is my fav time of the year, Spring. Welcome back, my old friend, Spring. Please don't ever leave me again! :)

I love your info on hawks. We had another hawk attack on the guineas/chickens last Sat morning. I don't know if the 2 hawks were going for a chicken or a guinea. The chickens are all safe in their pen, maybe the hawks didn't realize. The guineas were all screaming bloody murder and hiding under bushes. R and I went running outside screaming and chased the hawks away, but we got a good look at them. That probably happens often when we aren't home, I bet. The one missing guinea hasn't been seen again.

I love your duck pics, too funny! Your pictures are so beautiful, you are quite the photographer! :)


Rural Revival said...

Fascinating post Genny. They are such beautiful creatures. We see lots and lots of turkey vultures around here and if not them, then it's usually a red tailed hawk. One flew beside me for a moment on my drive home this week. It was one of those moments you can only capture in your mind.

Genny said...

Lynn: I've missed you! I would hate to have to drive back and forth to Baltimore from Northern VA every day. Driving into DC and back is enough for me. I went for a walk with my sister yesterday and was sweating like a maniac by the time we were done! I love spring but don't enjoy the heat of summer. I'm going to live in the moment and just enjoy the wonderful weather we're having now.

I hope the hawks didn't get any of your guineas. I'm still hoping the lost guinea finds his way home. The hawks are probably getting ready to brood now.

The ducks were so DARN cute! I could have taken a million pictures to keep with the million pictures I already have of the ducks. LOL I'm glad you like my photos. I got that new camera for Christmas and have really enjoyed it so much. Now I have to save up for the BIG lens! LOL

Andrea: I would love to have a hawk fly beside me! That must have been amazing to see. We have tons of vultures here too, and they do a great job doing what they do. Unfortunately, because natural habitat is shrinking rapidly, there are always a number of dead animals killed by the side of the roads. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving me a comment!

Laura said...

Amazing pictures and what a gift to see this hawk in its element on a regular basis. I have always been drawn to hawks and falcons as well.

Farm Girl said...

I love hawks too. I can sit and stare at them and you got such good pictures.
We were invited to a ranch one spring that has been untouched by people pretty much. We were driving and there were Antelope jumping across the road and in the middle of the road we could see this giant bird eating something, when it saw our car it flew up into the air. It was a California Condor. How I wish I had a camera. I think then I started watching birds because I will never see that again.

Genny said...

Kim: I lived in 29 Palms, CA,for a while way back in 1976. There was nothing there then. The USMC base was close by, but we lived outside the gate in a little tiny house in the desert. One night we were inside for the evening and we heard a huge ruckus outside. There was a huge cedar right outside the house, and it was full of Condors! Apparently, they were migrating and roosted there for the night. I remember how huge they were! It was amazing! I wish I'd had a camera back then, but at the time, we didn't even have a car. How times have changed.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

Knatolee said...

Love these. That first one makes me think of Africa. :)