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Archive for the 'Red-tailed hawk' Category

Golden eagles are MUCH bigger than red-tailed hawks

Two immature red-tailed hawks. Photo by Jennifer Dayrell, Livermore, CA
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We saw these birds at Sycamore Grove Park south of Livermore last weekend. Are they eagles?
Jenni Dayrell, Livermore, California

These are immature red-tailed hawks. They are about 19 inches tall and weigh around 2-3 pounds. Golden eagles are about 30+ inches tall and weigh 10-12 pounds. That’s a considerable size difference. If it’s a big bird, it’s probably a red-tail. If it’s the biggest bird you ever saw, figure it’s a golden. /Gary

Adult golden eagle

Posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Under: Golden eagles, Red-tailed hawk | 3 Comments »

Red-tail hawk feasts on gopher snake

Red-tailed hawk feeds on gopher snake. Look carefully through the branches and you’ll see the snake’s body hanging down. Photo by Marina Chainey, Richmond, CA
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The gophers are plentiful in Wildcat Regional Park and I’ve been watching many raptors make meals of them.  Apparently the gopher snakes are also partaking in the bounty.  However, this gopher snake became a meal for a Red-tailed Hawk today.
Marina Chainey, Richmond, California

The food chain can get very complicated, or as they say … it’s a jungle out there! /Gary

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Under: Gopher, Gopher snake, Red-tailed hawk | 1 Comment »

Artificial raptor perches installed on Mount Diablo used by hawks to hunt

Red-tailed hawk eating ground squirrel on artificial raptor perch on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
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In case anyone asks, those artificial raptor perches we (the county) put up in  the open space areas on Mount Diablo DO work.

I got up to North Lime Ridge early for a work party so I could look around and saw a red-tailed hawk on one of the perches. I stopped and watched.
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Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012
Under: Artificial Raptor Perches, Bats, Hawks, Red-tailed hawk | 2 Comments »

Taking OFF to go Christmas shopping

Red-tailed hawk taking off. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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Dear readers:
I’m taking OFF for a couple of days to go Christmas shopping with (and for!) my family. You should do the same. See you next Monday (Dec. 19), same time, same station.  Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! /Gary

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2011
Under: Red-tailed hawk | 3 Comments »

Red-tailed hawk harassing golden eagle

Red-tailed hawk dive-bombing golden eagle sitting on fence post. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1golden redtail2 dave harper oakley

Here’s a scene (two pictures) of an encounter between a golden eagle and a red-tailed hawk who happened upon the eagle. The golden is perched on a 6 or 8 inch post, interesting to see the talon size. Much like the smaller birds harassing hawks, the red-tail can bother the eagle as long as it remains careful to not get too close.
Dave Harper, Oakley, California

The eagle is probably perched in the red-tail’s territory and the smaller hawk is just letting the golden know who’s “boss” around there. These little turf wars go on all the time between large raptors and small raptors. With the birds of prey, it’s usually over territory.

But when small songbirds, crows and jays start dive-bombing and screaming at much larger raptors, it usually has to do with survival.The small prey species band together to harass and try to chase the larger predators away so the predator won’t sneak up and kill one of them when they’re not looking. /Gary

Red-tailed hawk dive-bombing golden eagle sitting on fence post. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1golden redtail dave harper oakley

Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Under: Golden eagles, Raptors, Red-tailed hawk | 4 Comments »

Hawk peeks over top of nest while incubating eggs

Swainson’s hawk in nest. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1swainsonsnest dave harper oakley

I get many requests from readers wanting to know what hawk nests look like.

Check out the Swainson’s hawk nest above. Note mama hawk just peeking over the top of the nest while she’s incubating her eggs. Red-tailed hawks, similar in size to the Swainson’s, construct their nests out of an identical-size mix of sticks, leaves, grass, etc. /Gary

Posted on Monday, May 23rd, 2011
Under: Bird nests, Hawks, nesting, Red-tailed hawk | No Comments »

Look! Up in the sky! Is that a vulture, an eagle, a condor … or?

Golden eagle by David Harper, Oakley, CA
golden eagle david harper oakley

Ever looked up and wondered what kind of large bird was circling around in the sky above you?

Here are some photographs of birds of prey that you might commonly see up there. Well, except for the California condor. I just threw that one in because I’m always getting e-mails from people who say they saw a condor flying around somewhere over the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve yet to ever see one or have a local sighting verified. Maybe someday if the condor recovery efforts keep improving. Meanwhile, here’s what a condor really looks like. Note, all have ID numbers on their wings. Enjoy. /Gary
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Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
Under: Condors, Golden eagles, Ospreys, Red-tailed hawk, Turkey vultures, White-tailed kite | 1 Comment »

Don’t use rodent poisons: They can also kill other animals

Rodent poison can also kill bobcats. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
bobcat brian murphy wc

Many wild creatures living in the urban interface are impacted by eating poisoned rodents. That includes coyotes, bobcats, gray foxes, great horned owls, barn owls, red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, and raccoons, just to name a few.

I looked at some d-con for mice off the shelf at Rite-Aid.  Near the bottom of the label under Environmental Hazards: “Predatory and scavenging mammals and birds might be poisoned if they feed upon animals that have eaten the bait.”

But who reads labels these days.

The Victor Fast-Kill rodent poison just says “it may take 2 or more days from the time of bait consumption for these rodents to die.” They say you can use the stuff indoors or outdoors! The box says nothing about secondary poisoning.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
Under: Bobcats, Gray foxes, great horned owl, Rat poison, Red-tailed hawk | 1 Comment »

Red-tailed hawks are truly beautiful birds

Flying red-tailed hawk. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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Red-tailed hawks are truly beautiful birds.

I think these photographs by Dave Harper of Oakley, Calif., speak for themselves. /Gary

Red-tailed hawk perched on fence. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
redtail2 dave harper oakley

Posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Under: Hawks, Red-tailed hawk | 1 Comment »

Red-tailed hawk stops by local backyard for a visit

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

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2010
Under: Hawks, Red-tailed hawk | No Comments »