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Red-tailed hawk stops by local backyard for a visit

By Gary Bogue
Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 6:55 am in Hawks, Red-tailed hawk.

Immature red-tailed hawk (Rita Freeman, Clayton, CA)
imm redtail rita freeman clayton

Dear Gary:
I had a beautiful visitor at my backyard pond last week, he was here most of the day.  As you can see, he let me get within a foot of him, it was quite an experience.  I’m guessing he is a red-tailed hawk. What do you think?
Rita Freeman, Clayton

Dear Rita:
Yep, it’s an immature (hatched last spring) female red-tailed hawk. How do I know she’s a female? Because of her size. Male red-tails are a lot smaller.

I’m guessing our recent heat-wave sent her looking for water and she stopped by your yard because of the nice pool. Songbirds aren’t the only birds that like to bathe and drink in backyard “bird baths,” you know. Being an immature bird, you were probably the first human she’s ever encountered, so she didn’t perceive you to be a threat. That’s why she let you get so close. Give her some time. After she gets to know us humans better, she won’t let one of us get within a mile of her.

I love our backyards. If you take the time to look around, you’ll discover LOTS of wildlife. That’s why I call our backyards the “Urban Wilderness.” Nice photo. /Gary

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