Saturday, October 17, 2009


He does indeed look to be perusing across the many lanes of traffic for prey. Being a mature Red-tail, I'm assuming he has the glide over the traffic to the grassy area where there will be prey, down and won't end up getting smacked by the tall cab of a truck..

Uh oh, I'm busted. He's spotted the camera and I looking at him.
His right foot is beginning rise.

And he's off. Pushing up and turning into the air with his left leg


The wings stretch out, tips up, and his body elongates.

The first down stroke. Note the position of his head and tail.

He rises. The second stroke, deeper and the tail and head bend into it.

The third down stroke, deeper yet, and he takes a look at me on his way out.
Actually honking has begun and perhaps that's another reason he looks my way. Oh dear! I realize the line of six cars in front of me has shrunk to one plus five empty spaces and those behind me aren't happy about it.
As of today the Red-tails are back hunting from the power lines beside the road with a vengeance. After this fellow, I saw three more doing it in various locations. This seems t9 be a regular part of their cycle here.
I'd wondered if the sudden appearance of the wire perched hunters might have something to do with an influx of Red-tails moving down from the north. But remember a few days ago, when Mrs. Steam was disturbed from her perch in Thresherman's Park she headed for the top of the power pole down the way? Earlier in the year, the RTs in the park would have just flown to the next treeline and continued hunting the field from there. Which gives a clue that it isn't just non-resident hawks but the locals as well who are switching from the trees overlooking fields to power lines overlooking roads.
One factor could be that the easy pickings of missed grain have been well foraged by this point. Are the prey having to forage further and hence cross the roads to make their meals?
Perhaps more likely is that in many fields now winter wheat or some other overwintering ground cover has now had time since the Fall harvest to get to a height where the rodents have more cover in the fields and it's just easier for the hawks to see them on the verge and as they cross the road. The hawks draw a visual bead on them as they cross and then nab them on the other side.
Donegal Browne

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