Monday, July 2, 2012

Red-Tailed Hawk

This juvenile red-tailed hawk was hunting at Wildwood Cemetery this morning.  It's nice to see him/her.  Juvies are not skilled enough to hunt during flight so they hunt from a perch.

I've been following this Wildwood hawk family for a while this year.  Earlier in the spring, I saw/heard the parents mating in some tall trees behind the cemetery building.  They were too deep into the trees for photos, or you know I would have tried to record it!  I've seen the parents various times throughout the year hunting around the cemetery, and one time even holding a freshly caught morsel.

Did you know that red tailed hawks mate for life?  Juvenile red-tailed hawks follow their parents around for awhile, watching them hunt and learning the ropes.  They still depend on their parents to feed them.  Once they are old enough, they must hunt on their own and their parents will kick them out of their territory.  They do not develop their red tails until they are 2 years old, right around the same time that they are ready to start a family of their own.

Even the juveniles are intimidating birds of prey!

(See how tail is not yet red?)

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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