These two Red-tailed Hawks were observed feeding on a roadkill turtle near UNT Discovery Park in Denton, Texas.

We first spotted the birds near the curb as we approached in our car. The turtle, a Red-eared Slider, was already off the road when we first saw the birds. As we neared, one of the hawks picked up the turtle and carried it next to a nearby fence several yards/meters from the road. The other hawk found an uncomfortable looking perch on top of the fence.

The two hawks clearly did not appreciate our attentions, so we did not linger at the site.

The turtle was a relatively large specimen. Red-ear Sliders are semi-aquatic turtles. It seems odd that one would be away from the water wandering about at this time of the year.

Another strange aspect of this observation is the temperature. This was easily the coldest day of the winter. It’s not clear when the turtle tried to cross the road, but you might assume it happened relatively recently—certainly within a day or two.

DateFeb 11, 2012
Time of DayAfternoon
TemperatureCold (less than 50°F/10°C)
HabitatThoroughfare-Primary Road
Type of BehaviorFeeding
ObserverChris Jackson

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