Hawk on a wire

What the?  I slammed on the brakes and swerved onto the shoulder of the road.  I had seen the oddest hawk on a wire.   It had a huge eye and gray head.  We watched it as it watched us.  We couldn’t figure it out.  Big eye, no huge eye, gray head, look at the crest blowing in the breeze, very mottled back, very long legs and was that 3 bands on the tail?  Being on the west coast and out of my element, I wasn’t sure.  It could be anything.  I flipped open my ancient travel Petersen’s.  It didn’t fit any of the descriptions.  I looked back.

It had turned around.  With the red chest it had to be a Red-shouldered Hawk.  I have never seen one with a gray head before.  The Red-shouldered Hawks at home, do not perch on wires, are more woodsy and I usually see and hear them flying high above the trees.  He certainly had us going for a while.


Filed under Photos, Travel

9 responses to “Hawk on a wire

  1. sbgyn

    Great photos!

  2. Great shots. I just got linked to your site. Very nice.

  3. Nice shot of one of the elders of the air.

  4. I was surprised to see them out in California, too.

  5. Weird, the Red-shouldered around here in GA perch on wires a good bit. In fact, I usually assume a wire-perched hawk is a RS until proven otherwise, unless the habitat is entirely wrong (nothing but open fields, for example).
    But that is one weird-looking RS. But then again, I’ve never seen on in CA myself. I’m hoping to change that someday.

  6. In NJ, I always assume wire-perched hawks are Red-tailed Hawks or in the flatland, little Kestrels. Maybe this hawk is some sort of sub-species. John says he has seen them too.

  7. Weird. I haven’t seen a RS that looked like that — gray head? I have seen them on wires alot but not with that color head and the crest. Here are some pics I’ve taken of California RSs. [click]

  8. Love the photos. Most of the wire-perched hawks here are Red-tailed as well. But even so, I love ’em all!

  9. Carole

    Our neighborhood pair like to perch on a clothesline or the edge of a trampoline.

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