Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Corralitas Drive: Hawk Drama

Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 27, 2009, 9:43 AM. One of two mystery hawks on Corralitas Drive. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Sunday morning, while walking up Corralitas Drive, I heard a hawk calling rather insistently from the direction of Riverside Terrace & Riverside Drive. At the same time, I noticed another hawk in a tree above me.

When Red Tail Hawks nested off the log cabin decks, the juvenile would often stand on the railing of a deck, calling to be fed. The parent (who was about the same size as the juvenile) would then land in a nearby tree with a good sized rat in its talons and call for the youngster to join it in the tree.

This time however, the hawk in the tree appeared much larger than the second hawk (who was doing the calling). The second hawk flew in tight circles around the tree. It seemed to be harassing the first hawk, who kind of hunched its shoulders trying to appear larger and more menacing. The second hawk landed in the tree, continuing to scream at the first hawk. Both eventually flew off in the direction of the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract.

The neighbor whose tree in which the 10 minute drama played out, watched from his deck. We agreed it was unusual to witness such behavior. He said hawks have been hanging around his tree lately. He hoped they were chasing the Mourning Doves away. (Cooper's Hawks prey on Mourning Doves.) Recently, one hawk even landed on the ground in his yard. It may have been a failed hunt.

Sunday, both hawks had black and white horizontal stripes on their tails and wings. According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website, they could be several different hawk species, and juveniles have different color patterns than adults. Cornell has a good comparison section of similar birds, but without a good photo, it's tough to identify these hawks.

Click here for all our hawk posts.

If you have photos or video of birds of prey, or any other wildlife in the neighborhood, please send them to us, along with any other details you can remember of the encounter: redcarproperty@gmail.com.