I don't have beautiful photographs to show you, but I have seen the juvenile Red-shouldered hawk and can show you some sketches. I can also show you a fuzzy image or two.
I thought about entitling this post, "leaves, leaves, leaves!" But each time I think about complaining about what I can't see because of the leaves, I remind myself that this incredibly thick canopy protected the nest and its young from sun, wind, rain and interference perfectly. And this old-growth, thick forest is the habitat of these amazing Red-shouldered hawks.
The real fun of this visit was the amazing moment of seeing the juvenile, a stationary mass that on passing glance as I lowered my binoculars, looked like a clump of fallen leaves. That I spotted him at all was the unexpected peak of Friday's visit. Seeing him clearly confirmed what I could only speculate before, that he/she has fledged and is flying from branch to branch within the nesting territory but not yet hunting. On a prior visit, I witnessed the male's strike and heard the calling of what I believed to be two juveniles as the male brought the prey to the nest. The parent then flew to the back of the nest house. This was another moment of lucky timing. My reading confirms this is typical care of hawk young at this age of maturity. The juveniles are now 48-51 days old. The parents leave the juveniles alone for much of the day, visiting only long enough to drop off prey. Even though the image above is not clear, you can still see a small amount of white and brown streaked breast feathers.
Sketchbook note: "I could not have been more surprised. I was looking at the nest through my binoculars and noticed what I thought was a clump of leaves. A second look and I discovered this beautiful juvenile perched on a low branch near the nest. Today marks 48 days counting from April 26 when I first saw a nestling. The parents hunt now, drop prey off and leave again. Although I heard calling in the distance, the adults did not return during my 3- hour visit."
Linked to Bird Photography Weekly #42 at Birdfreak.com to promote the conservation of our world's birds and the habitat they live in.
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals.