The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red Tail Hawk

My very favorite animal is the Red Tail Hawk.  I find them fascinating.  A very large overgrown eucalyptus tree has made a perfect perch and nest for the two Red Tail Hawks that live on the adjoining property.  Because my home is higher up the plateau than their tree, I'm able to view the nest unobstructed from my living room window.  I knew NOTHING about hawks until I noticed "my" hawks one day circling their tree.  I started watching and doing some research.  I've found some really interesting facts about these raptors.  They mate for life.  They "own" a territory of approximately 1 square mile.  They raise young every spring and take turns caring for them.  They only visit the nest when the eggs are incubating or to feed the young, other than that they prefer to perch on a tree branch or a utility pole.  I have started a calendar and have recorded the days each year that they start repairing and occupying the nest, the days they start sitting on the eggs, the first sighting of the young, and lastly the day the young fly the coop.  Guess what?  While I've only been watching and recording these antics for a few years, each of these milestones have been repeated within 3 days of each other - year over year.  Isn't that amazing? 

Red Tail Hawks have a wing span of over 4 feet.  The female weighs up to 3.5 lbs and can outweigh the male by 25%.   When hearing a bird or eagle on TV it's almost always the cry of the red-tail hawk.  One of my hawks is so funny, she flys to the tree perch each evening for bed and if the male doesn't follow immediately she calls out or crys for him to come to bed.  I love watching the birds hunt for prey.  I frequently seem them catch a mouse...they fly up to the top of the utility pole and rip it apart with their claws and eat every morsel.  I've also seen a hawk carry a snake over head a few times and even carry a rabbit by the rabbit's two front paws.  I have a lot more facts and stories to share about my hawks...
watch for more to come!

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