Monday, October 1, 2007

Hawks in my yard

Sunday morning I was awakened to a strange sound. There was a loud screeching, screaming, yelling sound right outside my window. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep but it was so loud. It was probably around 6 am and I could not take it anymore so I got out of bed to see what was making this sound. I could not believe what I saw. There was a red-tailed hawk perched on my fence holding a pigeon in its' talons. I was so excited I woke up Neil to tell him about it. (He didn't really care about the hawk. I think he just wanted it to shut up.) I quickly got on some shoes and went outside to get a closer look. When I went out there I noticed that there was a second hawk perched on on the back fence.

There were two hawks on my back fence!!! I know I am revealling the nerdy science geek in me but I was really excited. I love watching hawks and I have never before been this close to one. My closest encounter to a hawk was when I was hiking in Santa Barbara and I saw one swoop down and snatch up a mouse. It was probably 30 feet away. This was even better...these hawks were probably only 10 feet away.

I think that hawk #1 was trying to protect her breakfast from hawk #2 who was trying to steal a piece of the yummy pigeon. One thing that I noticed was how easy the hawk handled the pigeon. Soon after I went out there the hawk with the pigeon flew into the neighbors yard and up on her fence. She (the hawk) just flipped that pigeon around like it was nothing.

I am grateful for those hawks and hope they kill all of the pigeons around here. GO HAWKS!

Click on this link to hear the noise that woke me up:

  • The eyesight of a hawk is 8 times as powerful as a human's.
  • Like all hawks, the Red-tailed Hawk's talons (claws) are the main weapons.
  • The Red-tailed Hawk has hoarse and rasping 2- to3-second scream that is most commonly heard while soaring. The scream of the Red-Tailed hawk is the sound used to represent hawks and eagles in movies around the world.
  • 85 to 90 % of the Red-tailed Hawk's diet is composed of small rodents.
  • In the courtship display a pair of Red-tailed Hawks soars in wide circles at a great height. The male dives down in a steep drop, then shoots up again at nearly as steep an angle. He repeats this maneuver several times, then approaches the female from above. He extends his legs and touches or grasps her briefly. The pair may grab onto one other and may interlock their talons and spiral toward the ground.