Red-tailed Hawks

I was up at Strathcona Provincial Park this weekend helping out with the Friends of Strathcona Park Wilderness Festival and had the good fortune to get a closer look at a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis).

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Scarlet, Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society ambassador poses for photographs at the Friends of Strathcona Park Wilderness Festival.

Scarlet is a Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society ambassador and is present at many local events, giving visitors a chance to learn about raptors and wildlife rehabilitation.

It’s interesting how things are connected and when you bird regularly you’re usually pretty quick to notice something unusual. Perhaps an odd colour in a tree, an unusual call that doesn’t quite match anything you’ve heard before, or movement in a tree or a bush draws your attention.

It was the latter that attracted my attention later in the day. I was cooking dinner at our campsite in Ralph River Campground, bravely trying to fend off the squadrons of mosquitoes, when I noticed a large raptor flying directly towards our site with a garter snake in its talons. I caught what I thought was a flash of red on its tail and tentatively identified it as a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). Boiling pots were abandoned as I got my camera and tried to get a better look at the bird perched high up in a Douglas-fir.

I wasn’t able to get a perfect angle, but managed to photograph enough of the bird and get a better look at it to identify it as a rather raggedy-looking “intermediate” adult Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
This rather less impressive wild Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) made an appearance at our campsite in Ralph River Campground in Strathcona Provincial Park, British Columbia.

Perhaps it was seeing Scarlet earlier in the day that had “conjured” up this second Red-tailed Hawk, I’m not sure. Funny how birding works!

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