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Tag Archives: hawk

This is a Red-tailed Hawk. Redtails, as they are commonly called, come in a variety of colors but most have similar patterns that ought to make them easy to identify. For beginning birders, they do present challenges. This bird is a light colored, first year bird. It was born last spring. The next time it molts (replaces its feathers) it will have a distinctive red tail which will make it easier to identify. Sometimes Redtails are very dark and the patterns are not always obvious. It is the most commonly seen hawk in our area.

All the birds need to eat so I try not to get upset when I see a pygmy owl or an accipiter gazing at the feeder birds. Today there was a Merlin, a small falcon, quite a distance from the feeders, fifty meters or more, and all the little birds were gone for hours. A couple days ago I spotted a Cooper’s Hawk, an accipiter, in the same snag. I managed to digiscope some photos of it and then walked out of the room. I returned a few minutes later to find all the feeder birds gone and the hawk was right in the midst of the feeders. You can see she was intent on a meal of her own. I did not see if she caught anything when she blazed away.

Digiscoped pictures of the Cooper’s Hawk and the Merlin

We camped at Page Springs campground, located at the south end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and on the road to Steens Mountain. At night I enjoyed listening to owls – Great Horned and also Western Screech Owls and the singing of coyotes. Ruby-crowned Kinglets positively dripped off of every shrub and tree. There were lots of raptors everyday wherever we went.

The girls and I ventured onto the Refuge a couple of times – more gravel roads. It is very dry as is much of the northwest this year. Hopefully recent rains have improved the situation. I did manage to see a few birds and a very beautiful coyote on the main road. The canid stayed on the road til an oncoming truck forced it to choose another pathway. American White Pelicans moved round and round a pond cooperatively fishing at the Malheur NWR headquarters.

As the days grow warmer, new birds migrate to the nesting areas and begin setting up their territories, declaring them from tree tops, fence posts and signs. During yesterday’s early morning walk, I heard bluebirds, sparrows, finches and meadowlarks. Owls wake us up at night with their hooting. There is so much to see and hear!

Here is the song of the Western Meadowlark from the Cornell website.

This young female Sharp-shinned Hawk prowled the bird feeders earlier this week. I didn’t see it catch anything but I have noticed that the quail numbers are dwindling. I think there were eight last month. Then there were five. Today I only saw three. Everybody’s got to eat.

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