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.

Comments

  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. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    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.

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