Red-shouldered Hawk

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I’ve seen this Red-shouldered Hawk almost daily from our camp site, either flying by or diving down and then gone.  A few days ago when it landed in a tree along the river boardwalk very near me, my camera and I went for a walk.

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Red-shouldered Hawk

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The hawk would look at me on occasion but was more focused on the ground below. 

At one point, the hawk began lifting its head up and down, with long neck stretches, regurgitating and then expelling a small pellet fragment.

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Red-shouldered Hawk regurgitating

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Out pops the ‘pellet’

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A lot of work for such a little one

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Owls are not the only birds that expel pellets/meal fragments from their digestive system.  Raptors also do this.  For the larger birds, sometimes the pellet can be quite large.

The Red-shouldered Hawk went back to its watch on the ground below.  I could tell something had caught its eye. 

Suddenly it dove to the mangroves below and flew back up to another tree.  I got lucky with a flight shot!

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Red-shouldered Hawk

 

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Red-shouldered Hawk with his meal

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I could tell through my lens the hawk had caught a lizard.  But s/he was more concerned with me, so I left it to its meal.  I did not want to spook the hawk to take flight, and jeopardize it not continuing its daily return. 

And guess what, I saw it yesterday, sitting on the boardwalk railing, eating another meal.  😊 

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40 thoughts on “Red-shouldered Hawk

  1. That is fascinating. I knew about owl pellets but didn’t know other raptors did the same. Fantastic pictures, Donna. I especially love the flight photo. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Woo-hoo! What a bonanza of discoveries, Donna, seeing a “kill” and noticing the pellets. Your photos were spectacular. I loved that you put the arrows in, gave me an appreciative smile. And the action shot–really great. I didn’t know about hawks regurgitating pellets, too, and after I looked it up, I see that many birds do. How did I miss that all these years? Oh well, good to know it now.

    • Thank you, Jet! It was a wonderful RTRP photo session with this hawk, I still see it daily. The campground owner cut down all the mangroves around those few trees (so us campers can see the river 🙂 ), and I have stood still looking down into the chopped off mangroves and see lizards galore. So if I see them, that hawk sees a daily feast for sure! 🙂 I didn’t know even little birds regurgitate pellets, but the odd pieces got to come out somewhere, better up out than down, I guess! 😉

  3. Ok, Teacher Wadsley…that pellet…is that an actual shotgun pellet from a downed animal or is it the body’s way of condensing non-digestible material for removal?

  4. Interesting and informative series of shots. Where else but on “Photos by Donna” could one get a picture of a hawk throwing up a pellet attached to a 3 foot long string of God knows what? 🙂

  5. Excellent shots of the Red-shouldered Hawk, perhaps it was rehearsing for when it had any chicks. I think this hawk is kind of young. Great shots, Donna. 🙂

    • Thank you, Eliza! I’m not quite sure, I first wondered that myself, if string of fishing line. The consistency looks different at different points though. Guess we’ll never know. 🙂

    • Thank you, Denise! Leave it to me to see the odd stuff happening, lol. When the hawk flew up and landed in the tree in the last photo, I was so close, I felt my heart pounding! 🙂

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