HerbDoc recently had an unexpected – and welcome – visitor to her garden:
It’s common to see various owls and hawks in this area, but I was amazed to look out my window the other day and spot this Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). It was the first time I have seen this hawk in my yard, and it sent me scurrying to my field guide to identify him. These birds are 16-24 inches tall with a breathtaking wing span. He was sitting quietly on a low branch looking for dinner which I understand may be insects, small mammals, and in the better weather, frogs and snakes. As I watched he hopped down to the ground and proceeded to jump rapidly up and down, returning to his branch to dine on what I presumed was some sort of insect.
These raptors love deciduous woodland, especially where standing water may be present. My guide tells me that they are quite vocal, emitting a shrill kee-yeer, but this bird made not a sound.
Many Native Americans believe that the hawk is a symbolic messenger. I hope that his message at this time is for a happy, healthy and peaceful 2011 for all of our readers and contributors!