|Photo taken by my son through glass door to our deck|
These magnificent hawks are quite common out in the open spaces of our region, but to see one perching in a tree adjacent to our backyard (albeit in an area with large yards near the edge of town) was a first for me. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes:
You’re unlikely to see this bird in your backyard (unless yours is a big one). Red-tailed Hawks eat mostly mammals, so they’re less likely to visit a popular feeder than a Cooper’s or Sharp-shinned hawk is. ... The best way to find a Red-tailed Hawk is to go for a drive, keeping your eyes peeled along fenceposts and in the sky.
Trying to get a better view, I hauled out the spotting scope and set it up looking out of our dining room window. I don't have a good setup for taking photos through the scope, so there's some color distortion and vignetting (the dark circle around the scene), but we were excited to get such a good look at a hawk from inside our house. My 11-year-old son has really been enjoying watching birds lately and this was the first red-tailed hawk he'd seen since he started to keep a list. He grabbed the camera and took the top photo above while I was setting up the scope. I didn't crop that one so you could see its size in the treetops.
|Lighting adjusted to bring out tail color|
After about 15 minutes the hawk turned so its creamy front side was facing toward us, and just as we were about to take more photos it flew off to the west, in the direction of downtown Northfield.