Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tails are the most common hawk in North America, and their variation in color and plumage can make them both beautiful and frustrating to observe on any given outing.
They have broad wings, a consistent bit of dark brown and white mottling on their back and wings, with a more pleasant, downy white and brown on their legs. Their reddish-orange tail is diagnostic.

This particular specimen paused for a drink at a drainage ditch at a park in Phoenix. Some bloody residue on his talons indicated a recent feast. He was kind enough to swoop just overhead right as I was beginning to despair at the skittish behavior of the other birds at the park. He briefly paused on a lamp post, and greatly disturbed the local grackle population before landing  at the little irrigation trench. I'd never seen a hawk on the ground like this, but he seemed pretty comfortable both with his position and the close proximity of a gawking two-legged land mammal (myself).

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