Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hawk lunch - Philly style

Here's some fascinating video of an immature red-tail hawk who is clearly completely at home in the city, using the roof of a parked car as its lunch table!

We know it is an immature because its eyes are still golden, and its tail has the characteristic brown barred markings of an eyass instead of the red feathers of a mature adult.

Of course, we Franklin Institute hawk fans want to know if this is one of "ours" from this past spring, knowing how unconcerned they are with spectators close by.

John Blakeman had the following commentary:

"The bird is obviously an urban red-tail, that regards humans pretty much as my rural red-tails regard cows and sheep; with utter disregard. I've never seen this in a wild red-tail. But we are still learning about those urban red-tails.
Could this be an eyass from The Franklin Institute? Could be. But not so likely, inasmuch as immature red-tails at these latitudes (not so in the South) have profound migratory urges in the autumn. This bird may have hatched on an urban nest in the Boston or New York City areas.
I'm certain that it didn't hatch in a typical rural nest. No self-respecting red-tail of any age would allow humans to come so close.
And yes, this is exactly why urban red-tails need to be banded."
- John Blakeman


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  2. I am wondering if this might be the young Red Tail that zoomed past me 2 Saturdays ago on the north side of Washington Sq. landing in a tree near Walnut St. near 7th St. Not very far from 8th St near Market where this Hawk was trying to eat a Pigeon lunch on the car roof.

    It was late afternoon and I thought he/she might be searching for the evening's "entree" to fly or scamper by. (shudder)

    I recognized it as a Hawk having followed this blog last year and it had a brown tail.

    I know each animal must "make their living" and I love them all, Hawks, Pigeons, Squirrels et al. All the creatures living their lives alongside us humans in the big city. Seeing that Pigeon head left on the car roof was a profound reminder of the drama of their lives.

  3. Wow, what an amazing video. I've never seen a hawk let people get so close. Thank you for sharing on your blog.

    Lisa B.

  4. Great job whoever made the video, following the flight away! I understand why scientists want to band them to study their movements, but as a big fan of the three eyasses, tiercel and formel last spring, I liked it that they didn't have names or bands and we were always wondering where they were and which was which. I liked leaving some things mysterious about wild animals, even if they're wild in the city.
    By the way, we get Coopers or Sharp-shinned hawks dismembering pigeons in our back yard often, in Roxborough. But they constantly act nervous, so they are probably "rural" hawks.

  5. Thank You what a video!

  6. Great video, thanks! Can't wait until spring to see them all!

  7. That was one amazing video! I love how the people were fascinated by it. Admiring it and sort of giving it space.