Juvenile red-tailed hawk in Central New York

Juvenile red-tailed hawk

 While looking out of my dining room window this past week, I spotted a hawk flying above the forest behind my house. It soon quickly swooped down and landed on a branch of a dying ash tree at the forest's edge. 

Juvenile red-tailed hawk

After researching what type of hawk this one was on Cornell University's All About Birds website, I believe this is to be a juvenile red-tailed hawk. Juvenile red-tailed hawks don't have red tails yet, but some do have dark bands across their tails like the one seen here has. I also believe this is a red-tailed hawk due to the dark patagial marks on the front edge of its wings (you can see those better in the last photograph below), as well as its other colorations. 

A juvenile red-tailed hawk perched on a tree branch
A juvenile red-tailed hawk perched on a tree branch.

The Central New York area is at the northern edge of the red-tailed hawks year-round habitat. This time of year the red-tailed hawks that spend the warmer months further north in Canada are starting to migrate a little further south for the winter.

Perched on a tree branch, this red-tailed hawk eyes its surroundings
The red-tailed hawk eyeing its surroundings.

This hawk perched itself on the tree branch for about ten minutes, mostly eyeing the ground in my backyard. Hawks are a type of raptor, and hunt live prey. The word raptor in Latin means "to seize" or "grasp". Unlike carrion birds that eat food that is dead. 

A red-tailed hawk prepares for flight
The red-tailed hawk prepares for flight.

After about ten minutes of perching in the tree and eyeing its surroundings, the hawk prepared for flight again. It quickly lowered its body down and then launched itself from the tree. I thought maybe it had spotted something in the yard to grab with its talons, but it didn't swoop down to the ground, and instead flew out of the yard.

The red-tailed hawk takes flight.

Photographs taken on October 14, 2021, at Syracuse, New York.


  1. Wow, really great shots! Yes, I believe your ID is correct. We have them around here as well. I don't get as close of a subject as you. :-)

    1. Thank you, Shelly. I think I took close to fifty photographs to get these four good ones. The hawk kept its face behind some branches, before finally moving enough that I could capture its head without any obstructions.


Post a Comment

All comments are now reviewed before publishing on this blog. Comments may not appear on the blog for a day or two.

All images/photographs are copyrighted © by Tom Gatermann. All rights reserved. Contact me. Subscribe.

Popular Posts

A tour of Union Pacific's De Soto carshop

Amtrak trains on the Syracuse Terminal Subdivision

Boeing 737 fuselages on a BNSF train in the West Bottoms of KC.

The "Green Bridge" over CP282 and the east side of DeWitt Yard

CSX 7570 - TRRA Merchants Subdivision - St Louis - July 2008