Day Trip To Gilbert Water Ranch

Hawks at noon

Two very quiet hawks sitting at the top of the telephone pole

and a few feet away, at the top of another utility pole, another two.

One of these two was quite noisy.

I reached out to my friend Joy for help in identitying them.  Here’s what she said:

The hawks are Harris Hawks. The two dark ones are the adults the ones with the stippled breasts are the teenagers. These are the only birds of prey in the world  that hunt in cooperative family groups. So if you see two hawks sitting happily next to each other they’re probably  Harris Hawks.

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Red Tailed Hawk

UPDATE: March 3, 2013This is a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk… I was mistaken.  You can see  my other post with a photo of an adult Cooper’s here…

Last Saturday, this gorgeous Red Tailed Cooper’s Hawk was in the Palo Verde tree in the backyard.  My husband was a few feet from him when I walked up and he gestured for me to stop by putting his hand out and not moving any other muscles.  I ran back for the camera assuming it was going to be another evening with deer visiting the water fountain.

If it were a snake, my husband would have spoken.

When I came back I looked for the deer.

“I can’t see anything” I said as I peeked over his shoulder.

“In the tree right in front of you” he said.

“Oh my God! It’s a red tailed hawk I think.”

I’ve caught photos of the red tailed hawk once before at the fountain but being this close was super special.

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Red Tailed Tale

Update: March 3, 2012Thanks to the help of Jim Burns (http://www.jimburnsphotos.com) I am updating this post because the hawk in this photo is not a red tailed but a Cooper’s hawk.

Holding my breath (literally) I got my photo.  It was too difficult to manage the tripod, dog, cat and the squeaky kitchen door that I opted to use my telephoto lens freehand.  And that’s why I needed to hold my breath.

Cooper’s Hawk

Despite the noise, the hawk remained somehow long enough and I managed to capture it before it flew away.

Juvenile Cooper’s Hawk closeup

I love wildlife.

Camera in hand, I sat quietly in my chair on the patio waiting for the hawk to return, with the dog and cat furious on the other side of the kitchen door.  Normally, they would accompany me as I sat with my morning tea on the patio enjoying the quiet of Cave Creek.  But the kettle had to wait.  I wanted to be selfish just this once because I really wanted a photo of the hawk in flight.  I waited and the domesticated ones grew more impatient and bolder with Nedra nudging the door handle with her wet nose and Tari on two hind legs scratching the glass panel furiously with her paws.

The hawk was not going to come back but I waited still.

Then, as I spied my nemesis – the bushy tailed squirrel that has done untold damage digging around the house – it dawned on me.  In capturing my photo, I lost my opportunity for a good hunt.

my nemesis

With the hawk gone, the squirrel posed for his photo.

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