Posts Tagged ‘Red-tailed Hawk’

Eastern Screech-Owl (female)

April 29, 2012

A rufous Eastern Screech-Owl (Otus asio) shown by Ms. Gabby Hrycyshyn, volunteer bird handler from The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia. This “teaching bird” has several disabilities that make it unsuitable for release to the wild: the Screech-Owl was hit by a car, resulting in permanent structural damage to both eyes.


The Screech-Owl was one of several birds featured in a raptor demonstration at the Belle Haven picnic area, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. According to Mr. Kent Knowles, president of The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, …

The Eastern Screech Owl is a female. We can tell that by weight, not plumage. The males in that species weigh about one third less than the females.

The event was hosted by Friends of Dyke Marsh, National Park Service, and The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia.


In the preceding gallery, Photos 1-2 show the Screech-Owl with a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis); Photo 3 shows the Screech-Owl with a Barred Owl (Strix varia). Ms. Gabby Hrycyshyn handled the Screech-Owl in all three photos; Mr. Kent Knowles handled the two larger birds. Photo 1 is captioned, “Yikes, Gabby — PLEASE don’t let that BIG bird eat me!”

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Red-tailed Hawk redux

February 19, 2012

Two galleries featuring a few more photos of a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) spotted during a photowalk along the Mount Vernon Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Gallery 1


The preceding gallery shows the hawk stalking a small rodent hidden in the ground cover below the bird’s perch. The hawk looked at me (see Photo 2 of 2) moments before it pounced on its prey. The hawk spread its wings, dropped to the ground, and grabbed the rodent with either its talons or beak. The attack was sudden and nearly silent. I shot some photos of the strike; regrettably all of them are poor quality.

Gallery 2

The hawk flew to a nearby tree with the rodent in its beak. The bird used its talons to pin the rodent to a tree branch and used its beak to eviscerate the animal. I used “burst mode” to shoot photos of the hawk eating the rodent, some of which are quite graphic. Relax, the photos in the following gallery are “G-rated.” The title of Photo 1 of 2 is, “Finger Lickin’ Good!” Yep, that’s blood on the hawk’s beak. ‘Nuff said about that photo. The fierce look on the hawk’s face in Photo 2 of 2 is frightening! Can you say, “Velociraptor?”


Tech Tips: The photos in both galleries were shot using my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150. All of the photos were cropped and adjusted using Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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