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Hawkish behavior

This beautiful hawk has been visiting my yard for the past several days. I believe he had one of my mourning doves for lunch the other day (the abundance of little white feathers on the ground gave it away). I love having him here, but I do worry about my songbirds in the backyard. If anyone knows what kind of hawk he is, I’d appreciate having a solid identification. For now, I’m calling him Hamlet.

And I think I have a crush (hope it’s not a girl hawk!) 😉

Posted on February 3rd, 2009Comments RSS Feed
12 Responses to Hawkish behavior
  1. Hamlet looks like a Red Shouldered Hawk(pale florida form) to me.

  2. Thanks for the info, Siesta Surfer — and thanks for reading. If anyone can confirm or has any other input, that would be great! i keep a log of all the birds that spend any significant time in my yard!

  3. Looks like a Liberal Hawk to me MC! ……………..I beleive Siesta Surfer is right as I googled the hawk and it appears it is a Red Shouldered Hawk.

  4. Okay, thanks for confirming. I didn’t think to look on the Internet ….. Red Shouldered Hawk, that’s a new one for my little slice of paradise.

  5. Mary, after speaking with a co-worker of mine, he believes the hawk to be a Marsh Hawk.


    ONE of the most widely distributed birds of North America is the Marsh Hawk, according to Wilson, breeding from the fur regions around Hudson’s Bay to Texas, and from Nova Scotia to Oregon and California. Excepting in the Southern portion of the United States, it is abundant everywhere. It makes its appearance in the fur countries about the opening of the rivers, and leaves about the beginning of November. Small birds, mice, fish, worms, and even snakes, constitute its food, without much discrimination. It is very expert in catching small green lizards, animals that can easily evade the quickest vision.

    It is very slow on the wing, flies very low, and in a manner different from all others of the hawk family. Flying near the surface of the water, just above the weeds and canes, the Marsh Hawk rounds its untiring circles hour after hour, darting after small birds as they rise from cover. Their never ending flight, graceful as it is, becomes monotonous to the watcher. Pressed by hunger, they attack even wild ducks.

    In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, where it sweeps over the low lands, sailing near the earth, in search of a kind of mouse very common in such situations, it is chiefly known as the Mouse Hawk. In the southern rice fields it is useful in preventing to some extent the ravages of the swarms of Bobolinks. It has been stated that one Marsh Hawk was considered by planters equal to several negroes for alarming the rice birds. This Hawk when feeding is readily approached.

    The birds nest in low lands near the sea shore, in the barrens, and on the clear table-lands of the Alleghenies, and once a nest was found in a high covered pine barrens of Florida.

    The Marsh Hawks always keep together after pairing, working jointly in building the nest, in sitting upon the eggs, and in feeding the young. The nest is clumsily made of hay, occasionally lined with feathers, pine needles, and small twigs. It is built on the ground, and contains from three to five eggs of a bluish white color, usually more or less marked with purplish brown blotches. Early May is their breeding time.

    It will be observed that even the Hawk, rapacious as he undoubtedly is, is a useful bird. Sent for the purpose of keeping the small birds in bounds, he performs his task well, though it may seem to man harsh and tyrannical. The Marsh Hawk is an ornament to our rural scenery, and a pleasing sight as he darts silently past in the shadows of falling night.

  6. Yes, Mary, Yahoo: “Marsh Hawk” and the pics are very similar.

  7. Well, I am located very close to a small pond, but it’s not a marsh! And there are two large fields abutting my property as well. I have often seen two hawks flying together in the airspace above the fields.

    Now we have a controversy.

    I’ll have to look at the photos and try to make an official call.

    Thanks, Dan — and his coworker — for helping me figure this beautiful bird out! It may be the closest I get to a male caller in 2009! 😉

  8. Whoops. I mean “gentleman caller.”

  9. Yeah thanks Dan for making me look like a putz :-)

  10. Mary, I’ve just send off an e-mail to a raptologist – (studies birds of prey), in Idaho I know for a positive identification. I cc’d you in on the e-mail and hope to hear from Janie soon.

  11. Oh, my goodness. Dan,you are soooo sweet! From Siesta Surfer et al — thanks so much for helping this bird lover out!

  12. Now I hate birds…Thanks again Dan.:-)I am off to Idaho as we speak….

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