At the Berkeley Marina, after a long rain, a special bird arrived. Redtail plumage is wonderfully variable and it is always a treat to see a dark Redtail passing through during migration season.
Resident birds tend to be more glue-footed and less flighty, but migrants are understandably more wary.
I was a long way off, perhaps twice the distance most Redtails are comfortable with, and this RT was clearly more interested in a field devoid of humans. Lesson learned. Don’t assume all birds react in the same way. Pay attention to each individual and act accordingly.
I was glad to look back as I was leaving and see the bird had returned to hunting the area. What a glorious hawk.
This bird was deeply important to me. I have dear friends now that I wouldn’t have met without her, and a range of singular experiences and memories that only months spent with a wild bird can offer. She had a good six years and I’m glad she lived her last days in a beautiful California valley and likely died of natural not human causes. Fly on Patch… fly on.
Find out more about her here: KITUNDU.COM/PATCH
Hey folks, BLW is back in action after a brief hiatus. Sometimes life is like that. I was busy learning to surf and falling in love… you know how it goes. Well, now you can expect your dose of birdly goodness every few days on the regular. Starting with a new 10,000 Birds post tomorrow.
Most of the time I’ve seen prey delivered to a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk it’s dropped off and the kid is left to sort it out. This was the first time I’d seen a parent feeding a young bird who had already fledged. It was a sweet moment.
95 degrees in the shade, well if there was any shade. Man it was hot, and what on earth is a young Redtail doing in the middle of all this? I’ve never seen one out here before, a few miles south of Mercey Hot Springs.
Oh! I get it now. That dazed look was a food coma. And those shifty skyward glances and raised hackles were in defense of your meal, off of which you have meticulously stripped little strings of flesh in this blazing heat. You’ve only been out of the nest for a couple of months at most, so this might be your first snake… I see you are finally flying toward the gully like a hawk with good sense to go with your predatory prowess. Good luck to you.
Sorry for the lull in my posting. Life is like that sometimes. BLW will be back up to speed soon… but the break is a good thing for now. Please feel free to root around and check out past posts, or pay a visit to the talented folks in the list on the right.
P.S. this is the 300th BIRD LIGHT WIND post in the last 14 months.
Catching snakes is a little trickier than catching gophers. Snakes have reach. That dangerous head needs to be dealt with as soon as possible but in the case above, mobbing blackbirds are diverting her attention. This is an adult female Red-tailed Hawk that mated for several seasons with a resident male at Sutro Heights Park. He was over 13 years old when I checked his band number and if he’s still around that would make him over 15. Incredible.
**BE WARNED… this one is going to get gruesome y’all.
Raptors look as raptors do because raptors do what raptors do. They kill things daily. They look fierce because that brow ridge protects their precious eyes during all manner of prey related entanglements. That down-curved bill tapering to a point makes short work of anything that resembles flesh.
“they look so regal…” “they look so dignified and proud…” “they look so cool”
So while the Falcated Duck was stealing the show, I managed a few other images from that trip to Colusa. There were plenty os Snow Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, American and Eurasian Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, Coots, Harriers, Egrets, etc… but for some reason I spent more time watching than clicking. Here is a Cinnamon Teal Hideout.
Focusing on this guy made me miss the high point of an epic Redtail vs. Golden Eagle encounter… but… hey, it’s a Western Bluebird. He was doing an imitation of MC Hammer’s typewriter dance down the wire… worth it.
I’d heard reports of people seeing 10-14 Golden Eagles near Quien Sabe Road near Panoche Valley so I went to see for myself. Within 4 minutes of turning onto the road I saw a distant Golden and once I rounded the bend another flew overhead.
Near Paicines Reservoir yet another Golden flew over the water followed by a pair of Red-tailed Hawks. Later while I was focusing on some Western Bluebirds I heard a Redtail scream and looked up to see the pair aggressively driving the Golden away.
Pine Siskins, House Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle… More to come.
The song is called “Circulatory.” I made it with turntables and a guitar.
Check out my 2nd post about this urban Red-tailed Hawk over at 10,000 Birds.
This Red-tailed Hawk is a great example of their variability. It had such warm and mixed up plumage and a heavily banded, short-ish tail, made even better by the setting sunlight. Photographed along the Great Highway, Ocean Beach, SF.