April 11, 2011



(Video by Meade, edited by me. Still photo by Meade. This is the same red-tailed hawk that did not eat the little boy with a monkey on his back.)

ADDED: The still photo is actually by me. I don't know what made me stretch out the word "me" into "meade." I'm losing my boundaries. Anyway, I was amused by the photo because: 1. I was really only trying to get the whole bird in the shot, but he shot up, 2. The hawk has really long legs, and 3. He should have some wriggly little animal in his talons, and he doesn't. Hawkfail.


PaulV said...

Reminds me of when I visited a zoo with my 11 year old niece in Brisbane. We were at the dingo enclosure and the dingos were doing zip.. She imitated a dingo howl and dingos responded. Soon all the tourists gathered to see the excitement.

Ann Althouse said...

This bird wasn't prompted by humans. It sat on the branch for a long time and watched that spot on the ground. Then it went down and searched around quite a bit before quitting. It did the whole routine at least twice. I think it was a young hawk that was confused by the movement of the leaves. It's possible that there were mice or something moving under the leaves.

Lem said...

Reminds me of Obama's bombing runs in Libya.

edutcher said...

The first time I told The Blonde I'd seen a hawk in the middle of the street, she just about swooned, but they're like the one in the video.

Very purposeful in what they do.

Ann Althouse said...

... It's possible that there were mice or something moving under the leaves.

Almost assuredly.

sarge said...

@ paulIV

sarge here looks like althouse has er own conga line of suckholes harhar

PS nuthin excitin about dingos cept when yar hit one wiv the 375 h&h mag

traditionalguy said...

When Atlanta makes the NBA playoffs, you guys should feel pretty bad about bad mouthing us all of these years.

pbAndj said...

I hope this place isn't Gov financed.

Otherwise, I'd want to see pics of Meadhouse interrogating the socialists who are taking advantage of this government funded boondoggle.

Taxpayers expect their snow plow operators to avoid energy wasting honking, and they don't want the gov paying for non-essential actives such as public art, high speed rail, bike trails, and hawk hangouts.

BTW, the pacNW thanks WI. We're getting over a hundred million for rail from Portland OR to Vancouver BC. Now, among other improvements, the trains won't need to stop so a guy can get out to operate manually switched train "stuff" (I only heard this on the radio, I'm no expert re the things that, as of now, need to be manually switched.) We need the jobs more than WI. We only have Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, Costco, REI, Starbucks, and Ports that bring goods from Asia. WI's got Althouse speaking the truth about her chaotic mobster neighbors. You don't need anything more than that.

Quaestor said...

Yes, it's a young bird, as shown by the plumage and the pale amber eye. It could have been searching for a mouse or cotton rat, or it could have been just engaging in play.

Miss J said...

Meade is an outstanding photographer.

Lem said...

Listening to the news on the radio I was struck by the term "Libya unrest".. so I googled it and compared it with google's results for "Iraq unrest".

Assuming the "Iraq unrest" has being going on since the Bush years, you would think that the term "Iraq unrest" would outnumber the more recent "Libya unrest".


Libya unrest
About 10,700,000 results (0.06 seconds)

Iraq unrest
About 8,240,000 results (0.09 seconds)

But then maybe there is an innocuous google matrix explaining it away.. like everything else having to do with this administration.

Lem said...

BTW putting quotation marks on them yielded a less ambiguous result..

"Libya unrest"
About 2,740,000 results (0.84 seconds)

"Iraq unrest"
About 28,500 results (0.16 seconds)

Furthermore, according the squiggly red line underneath Iraq (similar to Microsoft's notation for a misspell) there is something wrong with the term 'Iraq unrest'.

Like I said.. maybe its nothing.

Ralph L said...

So men can wear shorts when they're made of feathers?

Quaestor said...

That is a remarkably relaxed and confident hawk. The grooming and preening is a real tell. Red-tails are by far the dominate raptor in North American skies, and it's probably their ability to live and prosper in close proximity to humans that has given them the competitive edge. If they are not harassed Red-tailed hawks can become almost tame.

Having watched Meade's excellent video several times I suspect that what we're seeing is not predation, but nesting behavior. This is a juvenile, probably not even two years old, but old enough to feel the first stirrings of reproductive instincts.

I can't tell the sex because there's no definite scale visible, dimorphism in Buteo hawks is limited to size -- females are heavier and chunkier -- but the "leggy" build suggests it's a male. Male Red-tails begin courtship by selecting a selecting a nest site and building the foundation. The female signals her acceptance of the pairing by adding a small contribution to the nest. Thereafter the male only brings materials to the site, while the female arranges things. (Red-tail home life isn't all that different from our own, eh?)

Before serious courtship can happen the male needs to learn about nesting material -- how to select, manipulate, lift, carry, etc. They learn this through play.

Red-tail at play.

At ease at close quarters.

Alcuria said...

Great video.

And notice the band on the right leg? Too bad you can't see the band number.

AllenS said...

The hawk was looking for obama's birth certificate. Like everyone else, he couldn't find it.

LarsPorsena said...

Lem said...

Reminds me of Obama's bombing runs in Libya.


PaulV said...

sargee, you are pathetic nimrod who is scared of nature. Using a gun as synthetic testosterone is na sign of sure loser. Dingoes ate your baby, sargee. Sure she took advantage of the crowd. You would have likely run for the hills. Using a gun as a crutch for your lack of masculinity. LOL! Sometimes these situations are natural, sometimes not. You. sarge, are not natural.

PaulV said...

Dingoes, like humans, follow the herd instinct. Easy to manipulate. They love to march against oppressor, drum lines and taping signs to marble. Birds do not care for that except in Hitchcock movies,

PaulV said...

@AA I was refering to the action of the humans, not the bird, who is pure. Dingoes, not so pure.

WV:micksh slur on Irish

lemondog said...

No evidence of a red tail. May be color heightens as it matures.

Some animals ‘listen’ for ground prey through their feet. Some animals such as elephants communicate through ground vibrations.

Agree Not Red appears to be gathering nesting material. I've notice the small backyard birds doing the same, that is, struggling to break off bits and pieces of sticks and shrubs for nesting material.

AllenS said...

Looking at the hawk's legs, is it wearing kulats?

Rialby said...

Do the chickens have large talons?

Lem said...

The hawk was looking for obama's birth certificate. Like everyone else, he couldn't find it.


Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...


Red-tailed hawks develop their eponymous tail color after about four years, depending on the color phase. (There are at least sixteen phase types known) Also their eyes darken from a light hazel to chestnut brown. I believe Meade's hawk is a one or two year old male, more likely a yearling, or in falconry jargon, a bird of passage. It's likely too young to mate, so the "nesting material" behavior is just play.

Sometimes juveniles will help their parents with chores of raising a new family, including gathering nest material. They simply gather and deliver, however. Mater-hawk insists on the arrangement herself. If Mr. Hawk or his son brings a twig to the nest and places it in likely spot, Mrs. Hawk will invariably relocate it or toss it over the side. This is hilarious to watch, it's like a sixties sit-com.

It would be interesting to check on Meade's hawk and see if he's on his own, or if he's helping at the nest.

Stoutcat said...

It's a juvenile Harlan's, which is similar to a red tailed hawk. With the RTH, however, you KNOW it's a red-tail; if you're uncertain, it's probably something else.

Here's a Red Tail (photo taken by me in our front yard--see the third photo particularly); and here's a Harlan's, for comparison. Your and Meade's is surely a Harlan's.

Regardless of the name, however, those are great photos and video.

WF: nomend... if Mr. Hawk eat you, you nomend.

chuck b. said...

"I don't know what made me stretch out the word "me" into 'meade.' I'm losing my boundaries."

It has been sl. amusing to me how diligent you are about giving photo credit to Meade for every little thing. Now I see why. Boundaries!

Quaestor said...

It's a juvenile Harlan's, which is similar to a red tailed hawk

In fact the Harlan's hawk is identical to the Red-tailed hawk. Harlan's is just a race Buteo jamaicansis harlani. Even though the adult Harlan's looks distinct from the more numerous Red-tail races, it is indeed merely a race. Molecular taxonomy work done at Cornell demonstrated the pseudo-phylogeny some years ago.

However, I doubt very much it is a Harlan's for two reasons: Firstly it is a bit too light colored. Harlan's are usually very dark. The deck is dark gray rather than brown in the adult plumage and chocolate brown in the juvenile. Instead of the eponymous red tail, the Harlan's adult tail plumage is dough-colored and lacks the banding. Meade's hawk is most likely B. j. borealis, which is by far the most dominate race in the USA from the Canadian border south to Florida and east of the Rockies. In terms of color he's right in the middle of a considerable phase range.

The second reason I reject the Harlan's hawk identification is the season. In autumn or winter one might see a stray Harlan's in southern Wisconsin, though that is considerably east of their normal winter range. However, Harlan's breed in Alaska and northwestern Canada. In April they're heading north by northwest.

Adult Harlan's

wv: undogru - There's no need to fear, Undogru is here!

Steve Koch said...

I recently saw a hawk get a squirrel in my back yard. My neighborhood is extremely wooded and next to a couple of large, mostly wild parks and a large lake so we have tons of wildlife around here.

One day there was a carcass of something in the street about 50 yards from my house. There were 6 or 7 buzzards squabbling over the carcass. My 3 year old grandson was with me and got to look at this scene closeup. He was fascinated.

We see deer in the neighborhood parks year round but during hunting season, the number of deers in our neighborhood parks (where it is illegal to shoot them) goes way up.

Quaestor said...

There were 6 or 7 buzzards squabbling over the carcass.

Do you mean this?

Or this?

Either way please don't call them buzzards. These are new world vultures, the Black vulture and the Turkey vulture respectively.

Buzzards are small to medium sized diurnal birds of prey, with long broad wings and medium length tails and legs. They are active predators and very seldom feed on carrion. All members of the genus Buteo are buzzards, including the Red-tail filmed by Meade. Though we Americans commonly refer to them as hawks, strictly speaking they are not. True hawks have short rounded wings, long legs and talons, and long tails, and belong to the genus Accipiter, such as A. gentilis (Goshawk) and A. cooperii (Cooper's hawk).

Dust Bunny Queen said...

For those of you who like bird watching....

THIS is really cool

Quaestor said...

The live stream is awesome, thanks DBQ. (The torrent of inanities from those neuron-challenged oiks on the live chat are tiresome, however. It's enough to make one weep)

Alcuria said...

stoutcat @ 4/12/11 10:01 Am:

It's a juvenile Harlan's, which is similar to a red tailed hawk.

Really? I would expect a blacker body and underwing coverts. The Harlans I have seen have a substantial amount of black on them.

Strelnikov said...

Sitting on my deck recently, a red tail landed right next to me, gave me the stinkeye for a moment, and then swooped off in digust. For a moment there I think, having been disappointed at the bird feeder, he considered me as an alternative. He looked . . . intrigued.

Steve Koch said...

"For a moment there I think, having been disappointed at the bird feeder, he considered me as an alternative. He looked . . . intrigued."

Hilarious. Two thirds of our patio has a roof over it. It is not unusual for birds to zip in at a fast clip and then zip out, never stopping or even slowing down.

Bird feeders are great for attracting birds normally but the last ones we put out (the bars you hang from a tree) are not popular with the birds. We got them from Walmart.

If you want to attract butterflies, Mexican Heather is good. Mexican Heather is also very rugged. Unfortunately it also attracts bees.

Maria said...

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