Never to soar again.
As human beings, we all have a trusteeship responsibility for all living creatures, both great and small. If you choose not to respect the sanctity of life, don't ruin it for others who do.June 24, 2002. This magnificent Red-tailed Hawk was used for target practice by an irresponsible individual with a rifle. ("Irresponsible" is not my first choice of adjectives!)
The hawks at the Preserve
have nests full of hungry eaglets and this hawk is probably one of our
new parents from the Sycamore Trail nest near the "climbing tree."
She was spotted in the Alkali Meadow near the parking area by a anonymous
passerby that called to alert us of the wounded bird. Which means the bird
must have been shot as it soared over the Preserve.
Knowing that this hawk would
need special attention, we, Connor Neuhaus and I, persuaded the hawk to
convalesce near the now vacant caretaker site. Here it could possibly capture
a rabbit or squirrel and we would bring it chicken gizzards and fresh roadkill,
plus it would have protective cover from predators. But after five days
she was no longer there.
I'm not an advocate for gun control, but this situation causes my opinion to waiver. Gunowner's have a choice what to shoot. Why do they choose to kill a precious creature such as this - a symbol of the Western Free Spirit?
Description: males: 1.25-2 lb females: 2-4 lb LENGTH 18-25 in WINGSPAN 4 ft
A long-lived (20+ years) large stocky hawk that has a typical light-phase with a whitish breast and rust-colored tail. Young birds are duller, more streaked and lack rust-colored tail of the adult. They are distinguished from Red-shouldered and Swainson’s hawks by their white chest, stocky build, and broader, more rounded wings. This species is quite variable in color, especially in the West, where blackish individuals occur; these usually retain the rusty tail.
Adaptations: The Red-tailed Hawk has extremely keen eyesight and can often be seen perching in a tree at the edge of a meadow, watching for the slightest movement in the grass below.
Courtship/Gestation/Birth: Most hawks build bulky nests of twigs, bark, and leaves high in trees. The eggs are usually white or bluish white, variably blotched and spotted with shades of brown. The young are covered with white down, and are relatively helpless at hatching. They grow slowly, and are dependent on their parents for food even after they have fledged.
Diet: mammals including mice,
rats, moles, shrews, squirrels, pocket gophers, cottontails, opossums,
muskrats, weasels, feral cats (70-85%); birds including ducks, coots, pigeons,
quail, rails, gallinules, doves, woodpeckers, songbirds, pheasants, crows
and rarely poultry (10-15%); reptiles and amphibians (3-10%); fish (.5%);
The upper bird is a Red-tailed Hawk. The lower bird is a Golden Eagle. The hawk is "mobbing" (harassing) the eagle because the eagle is on the hawk's turf. The eagle has rolled on his back and has his talons up to defend himself against the hawk.
Above photo by Chuck Tribolet, email@example.com using a Nikon
600mm lens, a Nikon 2x doubler, and a Nikon SLR body on Kodak Lumiere 100X
(LPZ) slide film. They were scanned with a Nikon CoolScan. Digital image
processing was done under OS/2 using ColorWorks V2 (tm) by SPG. And no,
the two birds were not moved closer digitally.