28 September 2023
On Saturday 17 September, my friends Mary and Bea were walking to the Bloomfield Saturday Market when they couldn’t help but notice a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) hunting on the lawn at Shadyside Hospital. Mary stopped to take his picture.
Perched on the blue sign, I can tell the bird is immature because his tail isn’t rusty red. In early June he was still in the nest. Soon he learned to fly, then to hunt. Now, months later, he can feed himself but he’s not an expert. It takes time and luck to get a meal.
In autumn young red-tails disperse on their first migration and every place they stop is completely new to them. Those that grew up in urban environments are unbothered by traffic and people so they may gravitate to open areas near buildings in search of prey.
This hawk was so focused on hunting that he ignored Mary while she took his picture. Read more about the hawk’s single mindedness in this article from 2009.
p.s. This red-tail may have been attracted to the noise of house sparrows tweeting inside that bright green hedge. There are always lots of them in there, but they shut up as soon as I look so I rarely see one. As far as I know, I’m the only one — other than a hawk — that peers inside that hedge. 😉
(photos by Mary Tuttle)