Saturday, September 20, 2014

Red-Shouldered Hawk Feather

I have been captivated by the activities of the red-shouldered hawks that live nearby. Only recently have I tried to capture them on video tape. They must have a nest nearby near the tall pines that grace the backyard natural area of my neighbors.

red-shouldered hawk red orangish brown featherThis past week, I captured two videos of the red-shouldered hawk as it landed on the light posts in our cul-de-sac.

Later, in the afternoon, as I walked to my curb to get the mail, I spied a bright red-orange-brown colored feather on my driveway.

In the past, I have seen many feathers in my grass and driveway. Usually, they were feathers from the morning doves or mockingbirds. This was the first time that I realized the feather was of a different bird.

I brought this feather inside to study. It surely didn't look it came from a "regular" bird.
red-shouldered hawk red orangish brown feather
What other bird could this feather have come from? I was thinking maybe the female cardinal bird? But, surely this feather is too big?

You can see both sides of the feather in my hand. Do you think it is a feather from the red-shouldered hawk?

The feather, with quill, measures 3 inches in total length and 3/4 inches at the widest part of the feather. The quill is approximately 3/4 inches long which gives a 2-1/4 inch length to the feather portion.

Learning more about the red-shouldered hawk, the National Geographic reference shows the state of Florida as a year-round range. And, that reference shows the comparison photos of adult and juvenile hawks. In those photos, the adult hawks have the coloring more like this feather.

I believe I want to next find feathers from the red-shouldered hawk's tail. In the past, I have found blackish-brown and white feathers in my front yard, but I always assumed those were from the mockingbirds. Now, I'm not so sure. It seems I should start to collect all these feathers I have been finding! Or, at the very least, start photographing all of them.

Red-Shouldered Hawk on Light Post


It was early in the afternoon when I arrived home to see the red-shouldered hawk hanging around our cul-de-sac. I first heard it; and used to think I was listening to seagulls by the sound. As I watched the hawk, it flew to one light post in the cul-de-sac and then to another. It was definitely keeping its eyes on some prey. It was later that day that I found the feather.

Red-Shouldered Hawk in the Rain


One evening as my online work was winding up, I came to my Florida Room to look out at the rain. As I cast my eyes across the back yard, I spotted the red-shouldered hawk on the branch in the bent tree out back. I never realized that the hawk seemed to enjoy the rain. Once I uploaded my two hawk videos, I found other such videos on YouTube. So, I would conclude that the red-shouldered hawks seem to not mind the rain.

Red-Shouldered Hawk in Water Oak Tree

red-shouldered hawk in water oak tree

In my back yard, I used to have a number of large water oak trees. I used the see the red-shouldered hawks quite often in the three large multiple water oaks that were removed. This photo of the hawk shows the wild bird in the one remaining water oak at the back of my property. It is in that tree that I have seen the two hawks mating.

red-shouldered hawk in the blue sky

Want to know more about the red-shouldered hawk? Well, I do! So, I was searching on Amazon to see what is available. I saw a number of promotional items which tells me I need to improve my hawk photography so that I can list some items.

I spotted a book that looked intriguing, Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors.

Jerry Liguori, a leading expert on North American raptors, factors in new information and approaches for identifying twenty-nine species of raptor in various lighting situations and settings.

The field guide's nineteen full-color portraits, 558 color photos, and 896 black-and-white images portray shapes and plumages for each species from all angles.

For me, I'd be interested also in all aspects of in-flight hawk identification, including the flight style and behavior. I'd want to understand more about the hawks that I continue to see in my back and front yard throughout the year. They are always here! A lot of other birds seem to come and go, but not the red-shouldered hawks!

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