Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another Dollar General Red-tail? And Finally, the Tobacco Field RT!

I said I'd keep watching for the Red-tail that was sitting in the favorite tree behind Dollar General earlier in the week. And I found one today, but I'm not at all sure that it is the same one.

But before we get to that, the tree in question is on photo left. What are the favorite spots for Red-tailed to hunt? Basically, woods bordering on grass lands or savannah. And this spot has the added attraction of a dumpster. We've found in NYC that dumpsters are a gold mine for raptors. WHY? Because they are goldmines for rodents.

Notice this hawk without question has a red tail. She is past two years old. But she (Just the tribute pronoun, I'm not sure of this bird's sex.) has somewhat light eyes. Or at least it looks that way when her brows aren't shading them. And I'm leaning in the direction of lighter than a Red-tail who has turned five or six years old.

Also though this bird has a very light belly band I think it is more distinct than the previous hawk who I photographed in this tree.
They both seemed to have a darker pigmentation below belly band lever than above it.
Note the "necklace" of pigment around the neck, that can also differ.
She looks up at something flying over.
Another difference, the other hawk was being mobbed by small birds. This hawk isn't. Somehow the smaller birds that tend to mob are much more likely to go for younger Red-tails early and often, but usually leave older Red-tails alone unless they are involved in some behavior that actively looks bird threatening.
Look carefully and you will see how light her eye seems in this photograph as well.
Preening is always in order.
A rousing of feathers, while looking at me...? Is she getting ready to bug out? Though this hawk is far more habituated to humans than most I run across in the area. Though not nearly as habituated at the most skittish urban hawk.
This is a beautiful bird. But I'm getting an overt stare. I then make the mistake of taking my eye off her to change a camera setting and when I look again she's gone.
Back on the hunt to see what other Red-tails I can find.
Hurrah! For three years I've been attempting to get a photograph of one or the other of the Tobacco Field pair. (Unless of course this is a passer-by who's stopped in during the current days of more fluid territorial borders.)
And it's the only one I got before the hawk was up, and flying off into the distance. Look carefully above the evergreens to the left of the slanted roof of the shed, and closest to the shed. You will see a very pale pair of Red-tail wings.
I do envy them their mode of transportation.

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