Last week I went for a walk after cleaning out some nearby nest boxes. My ears quickly tuned into the screeching sounds of a red-tailed hawk. As I listened and followed, I could tell there was more than just one. I recognized the cries of a couple juveniles and two adults. Oh sweet!
I found the birds in and around a school sports field. A bird on the roof, one on a hydro post, one on a goal post (all 3 were juveniles) and I soon was able to spot both parents hiding in the woods just off to the west. Their calls were distinct of adult red-tails or what some believe to be vultures and eagles in old television shows and movies. Maybe they still use the call of the red-tail in current films? I'm not sure.
The young birds gave me great views and photo opportunities. Unfortunately I only had my macro lens on which isn't very good for taking pictures of anything at a distance. I tried to take some of one but was convinced none of the photos would turn out with this lens. Actually, looking at this photograph, it really isn't too bad for a freehand shot using a macro lens. What do you think?
I texted Angie about the cool discovery and told her that I would return the next morning with my big lens. I watched the hawks a little longer and then headed for home. As I got to the house, my brain started drilling into my head to grab the 500 mm lens and go back. Why wait until tomorrow They are there now, so close to home.
I listened to my brain and am so glad that I did. I had an amazing encounter watching them for another half hour or so. Plus, it turned out that I got busy the next morning and couldn't get over to see them. I did return the day after and while I saw them all again, none were showing well or sitting low like that first day. You will see what I saw in the photos below.
One hanging out on the goal post in the sports field.
He had a good preening session after the light showers through the morning.
He tolerated my presence, though I wasn't close, having my 500 mm lens. I'd say it was because he is young and curious; and not okay with humans.
Another was up on this hydro post near the school, just screaming away.
I could hear both adults calling back from the woods to the south and west of here but neither could be seen due to the full trees. I imagine they were warning calls to me wandering around but who knows for sure, it's not like I could climb this pole and get their kid (but they don't know that).
The young birds did fly to various spots while I was there. They flew well. They landed well on these "perches" but coming to ground was a different story... they landed like Woodstock from the Peanuts as it was more of a crash landing and a tumble; I see the young peregrines do the same thing early on.
This one came to ground and put on a lovely "show" for me, which was like the grand finale, because after this encounter, I left the scene.
What a beauty! It's hard to believe that this is a young hawk and is still very dependent on his mom and dad for care.
He walked around this area, finding pieces of squirrel to feed upon. I also saw some rabbit parts too!
As his parents and siblings screeched and screamed, he called back.
I took a couple short videos of the birds, letting you tune into what I heard as well as saw.
My cats aren't fond of these hawk calls.
I've been by the area a couple times since and have seen and heard the birds. They are flying high and staying off the ground now. It was like a brief fledge watch for me, only with hawks this time.
It was a reminder to me that we should embrace the moments in front of us, especially with nature, because they will not be repeated. Listen to your brain is the only title that I could come up with.