Feathers

I found this red-tailed hawk’s feather yesterday when I was sweeping the sidewalk. Pretty cool, eh? I guess there’s a new visitor in our neighborhood. I haven’t seen any red-tails around, though. Earlier this spring there was a Coopers hawk hanging out, and though I haven’t seen him in a while, I s’pose it could have been his. It’s hard to tell with just a single feather. I also found a blue jay feather right near it. I don’t know that they were related, but if they were, it was probably a red-tail — I don’t think a coopers is big enough to go after a jay. 

Rowdy Reds

The Red-Tailed Hawks are showing their feathers here more often as it gets colder. Like most animals, they’ve left woods & wilder areas to hunt along highways, hoping for an easy meal. They like to sit on lampposts, & scour the road for any wounded critters. Though they mostly eat mice, squirrels, & small birds, they will occasionally eat snakes, insects, & anything else available.                        

Hawk vs. Crow

"Red-tailed hawk."

A few days ago I saw a Red-tailed hawk  flying over a highway, and it was being closely  followed by 3 crows, who were diving at the hawk and harassing it with their beaks and claws. This behavior is called ‘mobbing’. It happens when several animals of one species gangs up on an animal of another species, often trying to drive the animal out of their territory. This ‘mobbing’ behavior is particularly common with birds, especially the bolder ones, like seagulls, crows, and Blue jays. The crows that were harassing the Red-tailed hawk were most likely trying to  drive the hawk out of their territory. Crows and hawks don’t eat the same food, but Red-tails will eat crows, so the crows were trying to drive the hawk away from their feeding, and, now that it’s spring, nesting grounds. The Red-tailed hawks are nesting now too, although some nest in April. They typically lay 2 – 3 white eggs, sometimes with brown markings, in a tree or on a man-made nesting platform. The juveniles look very much like the adult: Brown back with white markings, and white belly with brown markings, but they do not develope the red tail until their 2nd year.