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Red-Tailed Hawk Glaring

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Bolsa Chica Reserve, Huntington Beach, Ca.

 

Found this guy (or girl) on a trail at Bolsa Chica yesterday. I was actually turned the opposite way shooting a Reddish Egret "dancing" in the bay (images to follow if I got anything good) and suddenly all the shore birds got a little startled and begun flying around. I looked around knowing that when a flock of birds suddenly takes of it's almost always because of a predator. I didn't see any raptors though. So a few minutes later after exhausting the Reddish Egret shots I got up and back on the trail and not 15 feet down the trail was this Red-tailed Hawk perched on a sign post. It must have been camouflage from my vantage point. Anyhow, I was able to snap off a few shots before he realized I was a little too close for his comfort.

 

A side note: It always amazes me how small birds instinctively know what raptors are a threat to them. Birds know that, for example, an Osprey is not a threat because it only eats fish but on the other hand if a Harrier or Peregrine Falcon were to fly over they would definitely scurry out of the way. The particular birds that this guy spooked only did a circle or two before landed safely back on the shore; I think they realized after a moment that this hawk wasn't too much of a threat. Most likely it was looking for rodents, rabbits or snakes.

 

Cool fact: The oldest known Red-tailed Hawk was 28 years 10 months old. (www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-tailed_hawk/id)

 

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Taken on December 15, 2011