Pheathers – Winter Sightings

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I miss the beauty of heavily foliaged trees, but bare branches often expose visual treasure. My husband spotted this beautiful hawk as it soared past our window yesterday. He yelled, “Hawk!”

“I grabbed my camera,
Quick as a flash
Ran to the window,
Pulled down the top sash,
Hung my arms out the window,
And started to snap!”

(With apologies to Clement Moore for mangling his perfect poetic rhythm and meter.)

I was able to zoom in and take these photographs of the hawk.

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He was a large Red-Tailed Hawk. I captured his intensity of gaze just before he swooped and disappeared. I wonder if he caught his prey? What a beautiful bird. Winter has its own set of blessings for birdwatchers.

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The WordPress Photo Challenge for this week is New Horizons, a challenge to get a jumpstart on New Year’s Resolution. One of mine will be to take part in even more bird-watching. For the most part it’s free, it’s fun, and it is a way to enjoy and thank God for the beauties of the world he created.

18 thoughts on “Pheathers – Winter Sightings

  1. Kathy, what wonderful pics! After watching the live nest cams for the past 4 nesting seasons of the breeding pair (Ezra and Big Red) who hang out at Cornell campus, I have a special fondness for Red-tailed hawks. ❤ Here in the Midwest, I occasionally glance up when I notice a bird floating on the currents – can't tell if they are Red-tails but I know they are hawks nonetheless. I stand mesmerized, watching it until it floats away.

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    1. Jane, maybe you can tell me if this looks like a juvenile hawk. We often have more than one bird ‘floating’ above us. A perfect word by the way. I noticed when I identified the bird with images from the web that he has the markings on his breast of a juvenile. Thanks for the comment. I’ll always be grateful to you for pointing me to the Cornell cameras. I was just telling my husband I will definitely be watching them again this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kathy, it is a juvenile (look at the eyes in your 1st and 2nd pics). You will note, its iris is golden – when they are about 1 year old, their eyes become a dark reddish brown. Also, your hawk doesn’t have the distinctive red tail yet. Again, I believe that occurs when they are a year old. Its juvenile horizontally striped tail feathers will molt to be replaced with the red feathers. So by next summer or thereabouts, it will have a red tail. With regard to gender, I know female raptors are about 25% larger than males When Ezra (EZ) and Big Red (BR) are side by side, you can see the size difference.

        I’m happy you enjoy Cornell’s nest cams. I also follow 2 Cornell birders on the ground (husband and wife team) via Live Stream – we call them BOGs. They broadcast the juvies and BR and EZ, who will eventually chase them out of their territory. Those BOGs are amazing, they put in so many hours (during the warmer weather will be on daily from early morning until sunset). They also follow other nests/birds in their area.

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        1. In my yard they shelter in thick ivy that climbs the wall of my neighbor’s shed. They also find crevices in trees, the pine have thick needles that shelter them too. God gives them the instinct of where to stay sheltered throughout the winter.

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