Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hawks, Waxwings, Robins

Red-shouldered Hawk on NestI spent about 3 hours birding the neighborhood this morning, most of the time in heavy mist and drizzle. Starting at my house, I eventually reached the Lake Creek Trail parking lot at the end of Braes Valley before starting back home. I ended up finding 35 species which was pretty good in the wet conditions. At Chester Forest and Stillforest I was happy to see a Red-shouldered Hawk fly into the nest that they've used for the past couple years. I got the poor photo above.

At the end of Meadowheath I was excited to find the largest group of Cedar Waxwings and American Robins I've seen this year. I estimated there were about 240 waxwings in the trees and bushes around the gate into the Town and Country playing fields. I walked around the gate and watched them eat berries and fly about for a few minutes. At one point a group of 50 flew out of the trees and right past me, about 5 feet from my head. It was fun hearing their wings cutting the air. On the lawn there were over 100 American Robins, foraging and slowly making their way across the creek to the baseball fields.

On my way home I spent a few minutes on Shady Oaks near an undeveloped lot. Across the street from the lot I saw a long-tailed hawk fly into the dense canopy and perch. When I got my binoculars on it I saw it was a first-year Cooper's Hawk. These are mostly just here in the winter, and specialize in hunting other birds. Their relatively short wings and long tails help them maneuver through the dense tree canopy fast as they chase their prey. This one flew off as I pointed it out to a neighbor.


Susan Andres said...

Do you think the Red-shouldered Hawk is already sitting on eggs? I see by the Birder's Handbook incubation is 28 days, fledging 39-45 days.

Mikael Behrens said...

I don't know, but it's probably not on eggs yet. My guess is it was starting to renovate the nest. Birds of North America Online says they don't have eggs until late March, and I did not see a hawk on the nest this morning.

Anonymous said...

Mikael, I walked the Braes Valley end today and had a wonderful show from a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks. I just sat iin the parking lot as they worked the woods and creekside along the parking lot. It was an adult and juvenile. The sun was out and their feather colors were amazing. -Barry