Thursday, December 27, 2018

Crops & Clips: Red-shouldered Hawk

The most common diurnal raptor seen on our local Wounded Wetlands is the Red-shouldered Hawk. 

Red-shouldered Hawk adult 01-20181203

When I see a Red-shouldered Hawk in its typical hunting pose it seems to be deep in thought, reminding me of "The Thinker."

Actually this posture provides the best view of its favored prey, which consists of small creatures often hidden in the grass and sedge, only visible from above.

It simply waits until a reptile or small mammal reveals itself. It also takes birds and insects. In our neighborhood I most often find it at the edge of an open wet prairie. This is the north wet prairie in the Wounded Wetlands, after a rain shower:

Rainbow over Wet Prairie 20181017

In riparian areas, frogs, snakes and salamanders are important food items. This adult exhibits its namesake red shoulders as it joins its mate, which is finishing off a frog's leg:

Red-shouldered Hawks 02-20150222

Red-shouldered Hawks 20150222

Adults in south Florida exhibit a range of depth of coloration. Most of our local birds are quite bright:

Red-shouldered Hawk 03-20160823


At Corkscrew Swamp in southwestern Florida we saw some very pale specimens (note the leg band):

Red-shouldered Hawk 20110313

Red-shouldered Hawk 2-20110313

This past week, I was walking back to my auto after visiting the local Bald Eagle nest when the cries of a Blue Jay alerted me to the presence of an immature Red-shouldered Hawk on a power line a short distance ahead of me. The young bird has brown plumage for its first 18 months of life:

Red-shouldered Hawk immature 07-20181220

The hawk seemed to be undisturbed by my presence as I moved closer. Although I could not fit the entire subject in my prime lens, I obtained some very nice portraits :

Red-shouldered Hawk immature HDR 04-20181220

Red-shouldered Hawk immature HDR 01-20181220

The immature bird lacks the red in its shoulders but shows a distinctive wing pattern. Its outer primaries are light at the base with dark tips, creating a band near its wing tips:

Red-shouldered Hawk immature 03-20181203

On January 5th we will be leading our next South Florida Audubon "First Saturday" nature walk at Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in nearby Pembroke Pines.

Chapel Trail boardwalk HDR 20160905

Chapel Trail boardwalk 01-20180705

Red-shouldered Hawks nest in one of the tall trees in the adjacent pasture:

Cattle Egrets with Longhorn cow 2-20181201

This adult rested on the boardwalk railing before flying off:

Red-shouldered Hawk 20130520

Red-shouldered Hawk in flight 2-20130520

Red-shouldered Hawk in flight 20130520

The hawk's diet can include the exotic Brown Basilisk, here seen scurrying across the boardwalk:

Brown Basilisk 20130722

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Our World Tuesday by Lady Fi

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh

 Linking to Fences Around the World by Gosia


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. Lovely set of photos, I am very fond of the birds of prey. Yes I agree it does sort of look like The Thinker 😉 Love that lizard, so exotic, ours are quite plain by comparison. Hope you had a good Christmas, Diane

  2. Some wonderful shots. Love to watch those redwings.

    Thanks particularly for the shot of that great-looking dinosaur.

  3. The hawk is a beauty, as well as the basilisk.
    Happy Holidays!

  4. The portrait shots of the immature red-shouldered hawk are excellent! Have a Happy New Year!

  5. Beautiful photos - the red shoulder hawk is very attractive.

  6. These are wonderful images. The 'portraits' are just astounding!

  7. Love the 2 close ups of the Hawk but as usual all your photographs are super. Thank you for all your comments over the year. I am just back from Cape Town with thousands of photographs which I now have to edit! I hope that 2019 will bee a a happy and healthy one for you and your family.

  8. Beautiful sky shots and birds too

  9. Hello, awesome captures of the Red-Shouldered Hawk. They are beautiful. The rainbow is pretty and I like the views of the boardwalk. The Basilisk is a cool lizard. Great post.

    Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post today and the past year. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend!
    PS, I also appreciate all the comments you have left me this past year, thanks again! I wish you all the best in 2019 Happy New year to you and your family!

  10. That is a beautiful reflection!

  11. Excellent nature photos! Happy new year!

  12. Hello Kenneth
    a great selection a nice new year 2019 greetings Frank

  13. Happy New Year!! Thanks for sharing your birding photos and your expertise with all feathered friends with us at I'd Rather B Birdin'. It's been a joy having you participate in 2018 and I look forward to viewing what's in the future for 2019!

    The hawk photos are stupendous as is your narration.

  14. Beautiful photos of the immature hawk. That nature reserve looks gorgeous!

  15. I enjoyed your comparison to the thinker. Perfect! Great shots. I especially like the pic with spread wings. Beautiful.

  16. We have a nesting pair of hawks and so love to watch them. Very graceful!
    Thanks for linking up at, and I wish you all the best in 2019.

  17. Great shot showing the Red-Shoulders - hawks are not always so obliging to give up there ID secrets!

    Hope you had a good New Years Eve / Day!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  18. Love the series.
    Great portraits, and a fascinating Brown Basilisk!

  19. You are right Ken, wooden shoes are hard on one's feet. That is why most people wear a leather ballet-like shoe inside the wooden shoe. The advantage of wooden shoes are that a farmer does not get stuck while walking in very heavy clay (in some parts of Holland).
    Love the comparison you make between the Red-shouldered hawk and The Thinker. Oh, the portraits of the immature hawk you caught are so beautiful! I like the capture of the pale one also very much - regal!
    Could not help but share your captures of these birds in flight and spreaded wings to my hubby - they are stunning!

  20. They are beautiful, and you are right, when hunting they look like they are deep in thought. That young one may have been too young to know to be concerned about you getting closer. If that's the case, he will learn, meanwhile, it meant you got some fabulous shots!


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