Saturday, February 18, 2012

Corralitas Drive: Hawks Are Watching Me Too

Photo: Diane Edwardson, February 17, 2012, 4:49 PM.  The Red Tailed Hawks know we're watching them.  This one was atop a one of the favored perches, a big pine tree at 2600 Corralitas Drive.  (Click on photos to enlarge.) 

Saturday and almost daily at 8:30 AM, one of the hawks was in the nest at Allesandro & Rosebud.  A minute later, it flew toward the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract.  I can't get a good shot through the trees, but I think the hawk wakes up when the sun hits the nest at 8:30 AM.   

A few minutes later, I watched the big Red Tailed Hawk fly into another tree in the 2 Freeway parkway.  The hawk stepped sideways on the branch and hid itself in the shade of the tree trunk, with the sun behind it. Our tree were blocking a good view, so I stepped just outside my door with binoculars.  (At the same time I heard and watched a Kestrel calling and flying up into the tree right by the house.) 

The Red Tail was watching the hillside below me for prey.  I've watched them hunt with the sun at their back so the prey is blinded by the bright sun early and late in the day.  Other neighbors have noticed similar hunting behavior.

The Red Tail was also watching me.  When I panned slightly to the right, toward the nest, the hawk followed the direction of my binoculars, and looked over its shoulder then right back at me as if to say, "Yeah, I'm watching you too."  I was partially obscured by the trees and bushes, so it was an impressive display of just how sharp their eyesight is.    
Photo: Diane Edwardson, February 17, 2012, 4:52 PM.  A second Red Tailed Hawk flew out of the top of the pine tree.  There is no nest in this tree, they just like to hang out atop the two tall pine trees on either side of Red Car Canyon.  

We'll be devoting more coverage than usual to the nesting pair of Red Tailed Hawks. Last Wednesday, the developers of the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract told me they would like to find a way to exclude the hawks from the nest, (so they don't have to change their construction schedule/plans for the controversial 16-lot development right across the street in the Semi Tropic Spiritualitsts' Tract.)  Raptors nests can require a 500' buffer during construction.

Last year, I was impressed by large number of rats, gophers and squirrels this pair of hawks fed their growing young - I saw at least 2 or 3 each day.  They perform vital vermin control in our neighborhood. I  speak for many neighbors who do not want the hawks excluded from the nest.