Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting the Red Shoulder

The other day, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a raptor land on the power lines at the end of the driveway. After a bit of fluffing and tail wagging, it plunged down into the ditch and under the mailboxes across the road. It then flew up into a nearby tree, clutching an unlucky vole or mouse and then proceeded to devour the critter. Afterwards, it went back to a power line to hang out and digest its meal in the sunshine. I grabbed the camera and clicked away. Wow!

I assumed it was a Cooper's Hawk until I uploaded the shots to my computer. Much to my chagrin, I realized it was probably a beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk! Sibley's even stated that they like to hang out on utility wires! These guys spent the summer gliding and crying above the back field, so it made sense that they stayed local for the winter. I've seen the guy a couple of times since then perched at the top of the old willow, puffing out his fine-streaked orange breast against the winter chill.

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