Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase: Red-Shouldered Hawk Expanding Territiory?

Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 8, 2015, 8:50 AM.  I'd never seen an adult Red-Shouldered Hawk this far south in the neighborhood:  on the Silver Lake Ave Public Staircase, between the Red Car Property and Lake View Ave.  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Once again, songbirds alerted me to a nearby hawk.  They were giving a funky alarmed call that I did not recognize, as I walked up the public staircase from the Red Car Property.  (Perhaps they have different alarm calls for different hawks, it was not their Red Tailed Hawk alarm call.) 

So I stopped, searching through the trees, not immediately realizing the Red-Shouldered Hawk was directly above me.  Luckily, I caught a few frames before it flew south through some very dense trees in backyards on the Lake View Ave side of the Red Car Property.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, September 8, 2015.  The red arrow points to where the hawk was perched in the tree.  (Photo was taken after it took off.)  It was scanning the dense brush beneath the power lines for prey.  

When it took off, it was calling, as if it were searching for its fledged youngsters from this spring.  It continued calling when it landed in a palm tree further south on Lake View and again, as it flew even further south into the forested steep slope between Lake View and Silver Ridge.  There I lost sight of the forest dwelling bird.  We've seen similar calling from the Red Tail Hawk parents when they call to their youngsters, which they feed for up to a year.   

It shouldn't be too surprising to see Red-Shouldered Hawks this far south off the Red Car Property, since the north end of the Red Car Property is no longer densely forested because so many big Eucalyptus trees died and were removed in the past 2 years.  

The north end of the property near Adelbert seemed to be Red-Shouldered Hawk territory.  The slot between India and Roselin, as well as Red Car Canyon, Lake View and the top of Silver Ridge belonged to Cooper's Hawks.  While the south end and the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract was claimed by the big Red Tailed Hawks who nest on the 2 Freeway at Rosebud Ave.  

This year, there's not been a clear pattern of raptor sightings as in years past.  Between drought and habitat destruction of the Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract, the balance of power in the raptor world may be all screwed up in our neighborhood. 

Learn more about Red-Shouldered Hawks: Cornell Lab of Ornithology