Birds of Southern California: The Red-tailed Hawk

While sitting at the desk in my home office I am facing "The Balcony Garden."

 

Balcony garden

The balcony's view is north, with a spanning view from east to west.  

To the east is the impressive Verdugo Mountains, about a mile and a half away.

When facing north I can see the "B" on the foothills representing Burbank, as well as the areas that were on fire least year.

To the west is Universal Studios, Griffith Park, Forest Lawn and the back of the Hollywood Sign hill.

Straight ahead is the mid level of the tree canopy of our neighborhood, a property that has been under construction since before we moved in years ago and the inhabited neighboring houses and apartment buildings.  

The alignment of these elements is in such a way that many local birds live in the area.  They love this area because of the variety and quantity of trees.  

Our town has a sign on the main road that reads, "Tree City USA."  In researching about this sign I found this on ArborDay.gov:    "The Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It is a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees.     More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA. They have achieved Tree City USA status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day."

The ecological benefits of this program's push for making trees a priority in city planning and maintenance is abundantly clear from my balcony.

Having a variety of trees means we have a variety of birds in the area.  Each tree is a niche home for certain species of birds.  The tree abundance attracts many smaller prey birds to the neighborhood.  

Once in a while, we get a visit from a large predator bird checking out the meal options - and once in a while, I'm there to witness it, with my camera in hand.

Our neighborhood received a visit from a HUGE Red-tailed Hawk.  

red-tailed hawk birds of southern california

This gorgeous bird swooped on through in the beautiful breeze and landed on a tree across from my balcony.  

He was there for about 10 minutes, watching and waiting as the little birds thought it was safe to come back out.  

While the smaller birds were brave enough to come back out in the open, they felt something wasn't quite right.  They all turned and faced the hawk in the tree across the road.  

^^ This is as close as the zoom on my camera could get. ^^

Eventually the hawk flew out of the tree, around our building and onto a wooden post on the western side of the building.    

Does it seem like he's looking at me?

He stayed there a minute and then flew away.

^^ I caught that red tail! ^^

 

What a beautiful sighting!

I immediately grabbed my "Birds of Southern California" Guide and made sure I knew what kind of Hawk it was.  

Definitely a Red-tailed Hawk.

The Red-tailed Hawk is the most common Hawk in this region.  Averaging 22" in height and a wingspan of 50", this is a huge predatory bird.  It was awesome seeing it in flight and seeing it strategize its next moves from the tree perch.

Until next time,

NAT!

 

Did you hear? The Hawk Returned!  See it here! 

 


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