Red-shouldered Hawk

Header Image: Red-shouldered Hawk

We were quite fortunate yesterday to have the opportunity to observe an immature Red-shouldered Hawk as it scouted for, located and consumed a meal. The bird constantly scanned the ground beneath its perch and once it located its potential prey it acted swiftly.

It “fell” from the branch and instantly spread its impressive wings and tail for maximum braking power. As it landed, it pivoted with outstretched talons to seize its meal. It took a couple of minutes (possibly to be sure the prey was immobilized) but the young hawk retrieved a huge grub and consumed in it a few gulps.

Satisfied, the raptor prepared to take off, sprang into the air and headed to the nearby woods.

We don’t often have a chance to enjoy this entire sequence.

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

25 Comments on “Red-shouldered Hawk

  1. Yum yum! Something good to eat! What amazing photos. I love seeing all of the beautiful feathers when they take flight! And their cute legs! It’s a wonderful time of year to get outside. We’ll be out on the trails later today. It’s a beautiful day already! Merry Christmas!

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    • We really appreciate you dropping by and leaving such nice comments!

      These cooler mornings have been fantastic!

      Our Christmas week has been great and we’re looking forward to spending time with family tomorrow.

      We wish you the Merriest Christmas ever!

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  2. Better lucky than good works now and then, but it helps when a dollop of preparation’s thrown into the mix. I’ll bet you weren’t out there with a macro lens and an f/100 shutter speed! How many frames per second does your camera produce? Mine’s only 4.8 fps, and I suspect that’s part of the reason I sometimes have trouble capturing in-flight images like these — at least, in series.

    The set as a whole provides wonderful documentation, but I must say that the second photo is my favorite. The pinwheel-like spread of the wings and tail is marvelous. In that pose, he’d look pretty good atop a Christmas tree. Anybody can have an angel, but not everyone gets that kind of hawk!

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    • Thank you, Linda.

      Okay. I may have had a big lens with me. And the camera is capable of around 7 frames per second. And the bird was nice enough not to fly away as we approached. And a definition I once saw for “luck” said it was something like what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

      Sure felt “lucky”, though!

      I also am partial to that second image. We don’t often get to see all those feathers displayed so prominently!

      MERRY CHRISTMAS!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the best definition of ‘luck’ I’ve heard. It reminds me of a line in Bon Jovi’s song “It’s My Life” that goes, “Luck ain’t even lucky, got to make your own breaks.”

        I trust your ornaments are made and hung. Enjoy the celebrations to come!

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  3. Not only did you witness the entire sequence, Wally, you had the presence of mind to swing your camera into action so that we could all share it. That big, fact grub was no doubt a great package of fat and protein for the young hawk – and it didn’t have sharp teeth to fight back with. May I wish you a wonderful, relaxing time over the holidays, and a great 2022 when perhaps COVID will have the decency to leave us alone. Don’t hold your breath!

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    • It was great to be able to observe the whole story, David. So often, we are able to only see snippets of nature in action.

      Gini and I hope your holiday season is safe and filled with Peace. A toast to our New Year and new adventures!

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  4. It’s amazing what nature shows us if we go out and spend some time watching.

    Wonderful photos, Wally – great work capturing the entire sequence!

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    • That sounds like my normal day!
      Thank you, Dina.

      And thank you for your recent post on your visit to your parents. The Wreaths Across America program is really amazing.

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  5. Well third time lucky to try and send a comment. You were at the right place, right time and with camera at the ready to take these fabulous shots Wally

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  6. I’m so glad that you were there to capture that spellbinding sequence so well, Wally and then share it with us. I am very grateful.

    I was sorry to hear of you both falling foul of the common cold, but delighted to know that you are recovering well. I think that we’ve all been relatively isolated for so long that we have lost a lot of immunities and resistances, and such thing will now hit us harder. I’m pleased to see that hot soup and a warm bed works in your household too. We tend to supplement that with powders containing paracetamol and phenylephrine – or at least, that’s what I’m told it contains. I have my suspicions!

    Have a wonderful Christmas. May 2022 be healthy and happy for you both, and filled with fabulous wildlife – – – Richard

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    • Thank you, Richard.

      We’re feeling 100% better today. Gini is hosting a Christmas ornament making day for kids of all ages among our local family members. Great fun and a terrific boost of holiday spirit for all!

      We both hope you and Lindsay enjoy the season and we look forward to sharing future adventures in the coming year.

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  7. Like you say, Wally, you captured the whole meal sequence there. I wish some of our farmers amnd shooting fraternity could see those pictures to observe how Buteos eat grubs, insects and other small morsels and not necessarily the “sporting” birds they so generously introduce into our native fauna.

    Sorry to hear about your catching the common cold, a most unusual diagnosis these days. Strange how it appears that no one in the UK had been ill with influenza for almost two years and the Common Cold has also mysteriously vanished. I’m sure the experts can tell us why this is. If only someone would ask the question.

    Here’s wishing you and Gini a happy, healthy and fruitful Christmas. Cheers and best wishes from England.

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    • Poor raptors are seen with one grouse and the entire population is painted as thieving terrorists. We humans too easily forget the lessons of childhood where we learned about nature and the importance of “balance”. Today’s early education may no longer allow such dogma?

      Thanks to the magic of Gini’s homemade soup and nodding off for a six-hour nap frequently, we are once again out harassing passerines and ‘possums!

      Gini and I also hope you and your entire family are able to enjoy the Christmas season with plenty of Peace and Joy to go around! Merry Christmas from sunny Florida!

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    • Thank you EC! Hope your summer won’t be too unbearable!

      This youngster will soon be looking for something a bit larger for supper! His hunting skills are developing nicely, though.

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