Redtailed Beauty

Last weekend, The Boy and I decided on an excursion to Henry's, Heaven for camera nuts. Not to buy, just to see, hold, and possibly to covet.

What? Don't you do that?

We cut through St. James Park on the way, both carrying our cameras. I got stuck taking photos of leaves and he wandered off to pursue his obsession: catching a pigeon in flight without any blur. After a few minutes, I heard him whisper-shout my name, looked up and saw my beloved frantically waving for me to join him further into the park by a clump of trees. I moved towards him, then heard what he was saying (a whisper-shout is hard to decipher at a distance):

"Warp speed and bring your zoom!"

So I pushed it into fast, speed and an uneven path collaborating to shake loose a kidney or two. When I got closer The Boy continued in a now penetrating whisper:

"Bird of prey in the tree, people taking photos, come quickly!" 

I hoofed it. And saw this incredible sight (as always, click on photos to embiggen)

I've seen Peregrine falcons in the neighbourhood, both in flight — they nest at a skyscraper not too far for me — and once at a community fair on the arm of someone working with them, but I've never seen anything but photos of a larger bird of prey. This was magnificent, considerable in size, and, impossibly, right downtown. There was a handful of people standing before the tree, phones aloft and pointed at this beautiful creature. Needless to say, we quickly joined them.

The bird sat there for some time, looking up with intent at the pigeons flying overhead. They were minding their own business, not yet aware that someone quite unlike them had joined their territory. And then the eyes sharpened and its position changed 

It took off and in flight, you could really see its size and the bird of prey-ness of it

Photo by David Govoni

Turns out it was not yet hunting. Instead, it found another tree closer to the road and settled near the top business branches to get a really good view of the area

 And then it lifted off and soared, circling the park

and the pigeons, quite understandably, panicked

It didn't catch lunch that time, instead flying north to find other, slower prey, leaving The Boy and I awed and humbled at this gift of seeing such a beautiful bird

The pigeons, on the other hand, were left relieved and shaky, huddling close for comfort

It took a  while in Google, but we identified the beauty as a Redtailed Hawk. When posting a photo to Facebook, my more bird-knowledgeable friends confirmed this, saying it was a juvenile.

And it was breathtaking.


Wren said…
Glorious photos, Lene! What great luck, to get to take them.
Anonymous said…
Lene, you are such a phenomenal photographer! The shots of the hawk are stunning. You should sell the prints. They are fabulous!
Diane said…
Birds of prey are very cool! Since we live out in the open, we do see many red-tails, turkey buzzards and kestrals...I must say that's it's pretty impressive when they do a dive and grab!
Anonymous said…
Beautiful pictures of a beautiful bird.