This morning I went for an early morning walk. This young red-tailed hawk was perched in a tree beside the road, and it was easy to spot. The morning sun struck its white breast and it seemed like it was emanating light. Actually, it was sharing a few moments with a sibling, as I saw when I got a little closer. Neither has a red tail yet; that won’t come till their first molt. But they both appear healthy, learning to shift for themselves in…Continue Reading “Morning Reflections”

I couldn’t believe how close this hawk came to us in the woods today. It was amazing to see him hunting at such close range! He seemed to catch something, floundered around in the leaves, then flew back up to his perch. Hunting is hard work. He never did catch anything while we watched, but he perched in several trees and continued trying. I have no doubt he satisfied his hunger eventually. I kind of like the effect of the blurred wings in this photo,…Continue Reading “Hunting redtails, bathing sparrows, and birding humor”

It’s been an exciting few days at the Cornell hawk-cam. On Sunday, the first hatchling pipped its way out. Thousands of people watched as it worked all day trying to get out of its shell. Then a second egg pipped. There was no sighting of the actual chick to signify completion of the task. Then Monday dawned snowy. It was kind of horrifying to see Big Red, who had apparently been entirely buried in snow at some points overnight, incubating in a snow fort. Not…Continue Reading “Hatch”

As of tonight, the first pip — sort of a dimple in the egg where the chick is beginning to push its way out — has appeared in one of the Cornell red-tailed hawks’ eggs. I thought of Rufous Redtail, an old favorite I reviewed awhile back. In honor of the first possible hatchling, I wanted to share the first few paragraphs of this great story: Rufous was a little redtail hawk whose life started where the mountains are covered with forests, the roads are…Continue Reading “First pip”

I shared in the previous post about our visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology on Saturday. On the way to the lab, we stopped to observe the red-tailed hawks featured in their nest cam, Big Red (the female) and Ezra (the male). We found the nest without much difficulty and had only just settled ourselves when Big Red flew from a tree nearby to roost on the light pole next to the one with the nest. Ezra was taking his turn sitting on the…Continue Reading “Cornell Pilgrimage Part 2: Hawks”

As the girls and I drove home yesterday along a busy thoroughfare, I saw this hawk perched along a popular walking trail. It’s a former railroad bed transformed into a sort of sidewalk, about two miles long, and it’s usually hopping with walkers, runners, bikers, rollerbladers. I had run there myself yesterday morning. But now it was afternoon, and this hawk, visible as I drove along the nearby road, was a very unusual sight. We pulled over into a restaurant parking lot and watched it…Continue Reading “Potential”

Our family has been enjoying the Cornell University red-tailed hawk nest-cam this week. We even participated in the contest to name the male red-tail, suggesting “Romulus.” I thought it was pretty great, but alas, we didn’t make the cut for vote-worthy names. (Sigh…) In any case, we decided to incorporate it into our nature study with some journal pages. We had a good time drawing together. Drawing the female hawk was our first attempt to capture a live subject (virtually live, anyway), and she shifted…Continue Reading “Red-Tail Observation”

My husband has challenged us to find a red-tailed hawk nest to observe this spring. So far, we’ve had no luck finding one… till today, when the announcement of a live nest-cam at Cornell University appeared in my inbox. You can see “Big Red” and her as-yet-unnamed mate here. As of today they’ve laid two eggs in their nest over the athletic fields at Cornell, and they’ll be keeping the eggs warm till they hatch in about a month. The girls and I still want…Continue Reading “Red-tailed Hawk Nest”

I’m trying to learn how to photograph birds in flight. I’ve taken so many pictures, and few if any have turned out. Today I’ve done some reading on the subject and feel encouraged; there are some things I can do, some adjustments I can make, to improve. Meantime, I’ve been reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World, so far a very satisfying book about cultivating a sacramental approach to life. She talks a fair amount about nature, and about the need to be…Continue Reading “Learning Curve”