Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Last week while walking below the hospital along the river at noon, we spotted this Red-tailed hawk in a nearby tree, I stopped and took a number of pictures of the very indifferent raptor as it stood on one foot and groomed itself. As we returned to work, the hawk was still there on the same branch, so still that it looked like part of the old tree itself.
I returned to the same trail in the evening with my daughter for another walk. The wild life is abundant down here and we saw a deer, a muskrat and a good variety of birds. I heard an awful racket in a shrubby area under the bridge where the highway crosses the river.
A Red-tailed hawk was sitting motionless again on a branch while a frantic and noisy male Red-winged blackbird attacked the much bigger bird over and over again. The little bird would fly down from a higher branch and shriek as it flew into the hawk. I watched it do this at least ten times...and the hawk did not flinch.
I have seen a Red-tailed hawk eat a Red-winged blackbird near our home and I have watched smaller birds pursue hawks across the sky. This blackbird must have been protecting a nearby nest and had no regard for its personal safety at this close range.
I wonder if both hawks were one and the same bird? They were both fearless and confident and took their prideful position on the river bank. I attended a raptor show last fall and the bird handler felt the Red-tailed hawk would be a good choice for a national bird as they are found in all Canadian provinces. (We do not have a national bird) A number of different hawks are found locally but in my experience the Red-tailed is seen most commonly.
Nature is harsh, but I do hope the brave blackbird was able to defend his nest this time.