Monday, January 28, 2013

Cape Cod Red Tail

On a recent trip to Cape Cod, I observed a number of seagulls soaring above the shoreline in search of their next meal.   The wind was very strong, coming from the southwest.  The gulls were floating in nearly stationary positions from 10-30 feet off of the ground.

Much to my surprise, a red tail hawk was mixed among the seagulls.   The hawk was displaying the same behavior of floating just above the shore line, waiting for its next appetizer to wash ashore.    It showed its superior flying skills in the stiff wind.   The gulls had a tough time staying in a fixed position, while the hawk had to simply twitch its tail to hold its position.

Most flight shots are very difficult to make, because birds usually fly very fast and sometimes very erratically.  I was very excited to photograph the red tail as it held still in the air, making it very easy to photograph.

I was very intrigued by this hawk's behavior.   Did it learn to scavenge the beach from watching the seagulls?  Did it learn this technique from its parents?   It was quite amazing to be so close to the hawk for so long.

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