Friday, June 24, 2016

Red-Shouldered Hawk Family On the Hunt

This terrified fox squirrel was almost hawk food

This spring, a pair of red-shouldered hawks built a nest in a tree two houses away from us. At least one of the adults was hunting regularly in our front yard, appearing every morning around 7:00 AM. It would perch alternating between an electric pole, our mailbox, and the top of some of our shrubs. It seemed to find plenty of things to eat and we assumed that, with the increasing appearance of an adult, the pair had at least one hatchling to feed. We were surprised when two juvenile red-shouldered hawks began appearing in our skies, practicing their flying and calling out, along with the adults.

The two juveniles are now hunting and feeding regularly in our back yard, scanning for food while on a fence or in the trees. Nothing is safe! One hawk recently swooped at a baby fox squirrel (it missed) but we’ve seen it catch and/or eat birds, a frog, and small rodents like a field mouse or mole. One hawk sat on the edge of our gutter, eyeing up a another fox squirrel in our oak tree,  at the same time hanging its wing down over the gutter, sunning itself. When I went outside to get a photo, the bird took off, but the squirrel sat frozen in the tree for some time, allowing me to get very close to take its picture.

Yesterday afternoon, both juveniles were hunting in our back yard and I was able to sneak out of the house undetected for a photo.  Shortly afterwards, one of the adults came into the yard so at one point there were three red-shouldered hawks within a few feet of each other.

The juveniles are back again this morning and seem to be having great luck in catching food. I suspect that soon there will be far fewer moles, frogs, and song birds in our yard!

An adult hunts in our front yard on top of an electric pole

This adult takes off with a bird in its clutches

A pair of juveniles scan our back yard, looking for a snack

All Content © Chris A. Zimmer and

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,, here.

No comments: