Thursday, April 16, 2015

Red-tailed Hawk on the Tuolumne River (And Yosemite, too)

There is a dead snag above the Tuolumne River near the bluffs of the future river walk park. I have to give it a look every time I wander by because there seems to be a different bird perched there every time. Sometimes a Starling, or a Magpie, and once a Turkey Vulture. On Monday it was a Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) are sometimes described as the "default" choice when trying to identify an unknown raptor. They are common all across North America, and are often the most common raptor species in a given area. Just to make things confusing, they come in a variety of colors, or morphs. One variation is leucistic, almost pure white!

I only got  the one picture that day, but I decided to check the archives for a few other shots, and I was reminded of an extraordinary day in 2010 in Yosemite National Park. It was before my official birding days, but I was always paying attention if they happened to be close by. There was a rockfall off of El Capitan that day that I witnessed, and there was a Red-tailed Hawk in a tree near Sentinel Dome that didn't mind at all our efforts at photography.
I rarely ever think of hawks as slightly comical looking, but cross-eyed does it for me...

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