Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Corralitas Drive: Hawkwatch

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, May 31, 5:21 PM.  Yesterday afternoon, I noticed one of the Red Tailed Hawks perched on my neighbor's deck railing, scoping out the hillside below for prey.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

I called my neighbor, Gary, and he quietly grabbed his camera and started shooting photos from his back door.  The hawk let Gary snap some photos, and then flew 20' off the deck to Gary's tree.  The hawk continued to hang out for about an hour, looking for prey, preening and ignoring the constant harassment of a mockingbird.

Photo: Gary Vlahakis, May 31, 2011, 5:29 PM.  We're wondering if this is the same hawk that used to hang out on the decks of the log cabins six years ago.  (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

He seems to be quite at home on the railing or the tree and doesn't mind Gary shooting photos.  Keep in mind, their adult feathers differ from their adolescent feathers.
Photo: Gary Vlahakis, June 25, 2005.  In 2005 on a number of occasions, I watched one of the recently fledged chicks screaming to be fed for hours at a time, while hanging out on the decks of the Corralitas log cabins. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

One of the parent hawks would eventually arrive with a freshly killed rat or gopher.  The parent would sit in the nearby tree and call to the baby to fly over to get the rat.  The parent refused to come to the railing.  The screamfest would go back an forth for about ten minutes, before the baby would give up and fly 20' to the tree for a meal. 

Learn more about Red Tailed Hawks on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website. 

As of last week, we can see at least 2 white fluffy babies in the nest. The adults hawks are almost constantly hunting for prey on the Red Car Property, Corralitas, Allesandro and the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract.  Keep your cameras handy and send us your Red Car Neighborhood hawk photos: