Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Farm Bird #144: Red-shouldered Hawk
A hawk screamed KREER KREER KREER as it flew past my milk room window this morning. It did not sound like any of the hawks we normally have around here so I dashed outside with my binoculars to see if it was still in view. There was a buteo sitting on top of the big dead tree along our little creek. A Red-tailed Hawk sits there most every morning and this had the buteo shape. But even at that considerable distance, through binoculars I could see red barring on the front. I ran to the house for camera and scope (and Johnny to set up the scope while I fired off photos).
The photos are lousy but diagnostic. It was, indeed, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk of the California subspecies that has been rapidly expanding its range northward out of California. A pair we believe nested near Willamina, not too far from us, and this just might be their offspring.
I do not keep a life list anymore, since it became too confusing with all the splits and groups and I grew tired of crossing out numbers and either adding or subtracting one. But I do keep a list of all the birds ever seen on our farm since we moved here in 1977. This Red-shouldered Hawk makes farm bird #144. Hopefully, it will come back for closer, better pictures.
I wonder if it has been here before and I just assumed the buteo on the snag was a Red-tail? From now on, I check each one! And listen for that diagnostic KREER KREER KREER.