Last October I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over Farmington Bay WMA and with my naked eyes it appeared to be carrying something and when I trained my lens on the hawk I could see that it had a twig grasped in its bill. It seemed a little odd to me that a Red-tailed Hawk would be gathering nesting material in the fall but about that time a friend came up to talk and I stopped photographing the hawk. There was a nest in a tree not far from where I photographed this hawk.
Later I spoke with Jerry Liguori; who is a friend, raptor expert and author, and when I explained what I had seen he said that sometimes in the fall pairs of Red-tailed Hawks do nesting maintenance. I processed this image last fall but didn’t post it because the hawk was so far away.
Yesterday I was out looking for birds in Box Elder County and enjoying the bright morning when I saw a pair of Red-tailed Hawks perched on rocky outcroppings but I passed them by because they were on the wrong side of my Jeep and they were a bit far away and I also though they might be closer when I came back up the road. Later when I headed back that way I was at first disappointed because I didn’t see the hawks but when I rounded the edge of the cliff I saw both birds in flight and both of them had nesting materials.
I quickly pulled over to the shoulder of the road but missed this Red-tailed Hawk flying into the nest with twigs in its bill. I watched the other hawk circle above and then this hawk took off and landed on the hillside and appeared to be searching for nesting materials. I was fighting mosquitoes again and missed it taking off with a branch it had grabbed from the ground.
I didn’t want to have my presence affect the nesting maintenance behavior of the pair of Red-tailed Hawks so I left them to do what comes natural to them.
About 18 miles from where I photographed the Red-tailed Hawk in its nest I came across another Red-tailed perched on a tall pole and when I put my lens on it the hawk picked up a branch with leaves on it and I took a few images of it before it lifted off and flew to a tree where I knew I’d seen a nest earlier this year.
I enjoyed seeing the Red-tailed Hawks yesterday and observing their nesting maintenance behavior in the Fall, I don’t’ see it very often so it makes it special to me.
Life is good.