An alert red tail hawk perched on top of a stump.
An alert red tail hawk perched on top of a stump.

Our land expands beyond the barn in all directions.   The walk on the road from the hothouse to the olive orchard is about a quarter mile.  But if you decide to take a walk on the wildside, you can cut through the woods below.  There are no trails, only one way across a 15ft gully, and it’s about the same distance but it’s a much prettier walk (and really what fun is taking the road anyway?)

One day I was heading that direction and as I was just getting to the edge of the orchard I heard a noise above me.   It was a sudden, loud scream!  I wasn’t worried because I knew it wasn’t human (and therefore also not a mountain lion, because they sound very human).   As I glanced up I couldn’t see anything at first.   Then I spotted them.  Two Red Tail Hawks were in the trees over my head.   They were flying back and forth, screaming at each other.   Swooping and twirling around each other.   It was a beautiful dance to behold.  As I watched I noticed they didn’t particularly care for one another, and that’s when I realized they both had to be males and a female had to be near by.

I searched the surrounding area, and sure enough, about 10ft away up another tree was the pretty girl.   She was sitting on a branch very calm.   Whenever the males got near  she would shift a little, occasionally screaming at them.  I stood and watched the mating dance for a little while and then moved on.

Every year since the female has returned to breed in the same area.  It’s possible the same males come back as well but since the hawk population is steadily growing, it’s also possible she has many admirers.  We say, the more the merrier!  Especially near our orchards.   Hawks are wonderful vermin control along with being a beautiful addition to our amazing home.

Stephanie ~ 3/2/09

 

Further Reading:

http://www.desertusa.com/aug96/du_hawk.html

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Red-tailed_Hawk_dtl.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_Hawk

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