Artists and Birds
by Marilyn and Keith Davis
"Shades of Red"
On one Red Cliffs Audubon Field Trip to Pinevalley, we watched a Red-tailed Hawk, perched on his favorite telephone pole, make a dive into the thick brush adjacent to a fence line. Moments later he rose up, onto a fence post, and proceeded to shred a large squirrel. In a matter of minutes, we watched this hawk catch two rodents from the same field. What a sighting! On another field trip south of Washington, we watched a Red-tailed Hawk attempt to catch three male pheasants. The pheasants easily outwitted the hawk, leaving him alone on a fence post, and still hungry.
When we go driving in our car, we always look for the characteristic silhouette of hawks on telephone poles, and are not disappointed. With a good pair of binoculars, Red-tails are easily identified with the varied shades of red on their tails.
Ranchers and farmers recognize the Red-tailed Hawk as one of their best friends. This non-paid hunter of mice helps keep the rodent population in check. The Red-tailís talons are used to kill rodents. Small rodents can be swallowed whole. Larger prey is torn apart with the powerful, sharp beak. They are not truly migratory, but do adjust their hunting territories seasonally in order to find prey. It is possible to see the common Red-tailed Hawk most any day in southern Utah. Be sure to check out the telephone poles and tall trees. This hawk weighs 2 to 4 pounds, stands 22 inches tall, and has a wing span over 4 feet. They are known to live 10 to 20 years.
Brenda Rusnell is the artist for the Red-tailed Hawk. Sometimes the tail is a striking red, and other times just a tint. Thank you Brenda for this great picture.
For dates and times of field trips o call Marilyn Davis - 435 673-0996 or visit our home page.
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