Confident Hawk

This hawk squatted on top of a Barn Owl box on the north side of the park, and paid no attention to runners, bicyclists, gawkers, and this photographer. At one moment it swooped down and seemed to pick something off the pavement, and then looped back to its perch.

I’m grateful to John Davis, who knows his raptors, for identifying the bird as an adult Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and probably a male due to its modest size. Females are bigger.

At one point, the male Northern Harrier (photographed earlier by Suzanne York and John Davis) came screaming low like an F-16 fighter jet and buzzed within inches over the hawk’s head. The harrier repeated this maneuver five times, but the hawk just ignored him and held its position.

The harrier has made his home in the park for the past month or so, and apparently considers the area his private hunting preserve. The red-tail is a visitor. Looks like the harrier wants to make sure the hawk doesn’t get the idea of settling here.

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