I had observed this Red-tailed Hawk many times before I took this series of pictures. A new subdivision is going up behind my house, and in a way it is the construction that brought this bird to my neighborhood.

First the bulldozers came and mowed down all the trees and stripped the earth bare. Individual lots were prepared for each new house to be built. The builder spread grass seed over the prepared parcels of land in hopes that grass would help control erosion of the soil. The grass seed attracted Mourning Doves by the hundreds, and the Mourning Doves attracted the Red-tailed Hawk in this picture.

Many times I was alerted to the presence of this hawk by flight of doves fleeing his afternoon attacks. On this day I watched him hunting doves for almost 20 minutes before going in to get my camera. His hunting seemed leisurely and half-hearted. Several times I watched him swoop down on a group of doves without really making and effort to catch one. He seemed content just to cause them to scatter.

DateAugust 2, 2004
Time of DayAfternoon
TemperatureHot (greater than 89°F/32°C)
HabitatResidential-Single Family
Type of BehaviorPatrolling
ObserverChris Jackson

One Reply to “Red-tailed Hawk – On the Prowl”

  1. I think from the color of his eyes that this is a young bird, who may be practicing his hunting skills. Or maybe he’s really trying, but just not that good yet. Juvenile red-tails have light eyes, which gradually turn a dark brown as they mature. Lucky you to watch him hunt (or play?) at close range over such a long time.

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