We had another 6-8 inches of fluffy snow last night. And this morning the wind made it feel brutal outside. I wasn't too hopeful of getting a picture of anything interesting. And yet, I liked this stark view of layers of white on white.
And then... I can't believe I got these pictures. They are crappy pictures, but I got them with a cheap point and shoot digital. This is "my" redtail hawk, and it was flying rather low over the field. In this first picture you can see from the fact that it glides with its wings flat out to the sides that it is a hawk. If you look up and see a bird about the same size with its wings in a V, you are looking at a turkey vulture (also called a turkey buzzard).
Here it is at an angle. You can tell from the short, wide, blunt tail that it is a buteo hawk. All that means is that it is in a group with broad wings and short tails, but for identification it helps you eliminate a whole bunch of kinds with just a glance at the shape. You can see in this picture that the tail is much more red than the rest of the body.
I could hardly believe when I looked at my pictures that one of them was this good. The light really has to be right for it to show the deep rusty red of the tail. Sometimes on a sunny day when the light flashes on it, it can be spectacular. I don't really know what is trailing from its talons- didn't see it till I looked at the pictures.
Redtails are common in most of North America, and young ones are easily trained for falconry. It's Latin name is Buteo jamaicensis. I have no desire to train "my" hawk, but I love watching it soar over the fields. And I've remembered that somewhere I have a really good picture from several years ago of a snow story where a hawk picked up a small animal. Much better than the one I found two days ago. But I'll have to hunt for it.
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