Red-shouldered hawks are common in our area. They vociferously proclaim their presence as they fly about the landscape or perch prominently atop one of our towering pines here at the Museum. But when they’re hunting from a perch along a favorite game trail or swamp, they are dead quiet, and deadly serious.
I spotted the hawk, pictured here, in the swamp on the far side of the outdoor exhibits loop just as you leave Catch the Wind heading for Explore the Wild. The bird was no more than twenty feet or so from the main path. It paid little attention to me as I admired it, snapping photo after photo. The hawk was concentrating on the landscape below. The hawk moved its head from side to side, over its shoulder and back to the front, ever alert for an unfortunate misstep by any potential prey below–mouse, shrew, frog, or snake. The slightest movement in the leaf liter below would have the hawk crashing down upon the poor inattentive swamp creature.
Most swamp or forest floor dwelling animals are cryptically colored, like the pickerel frog below, making them difficult to see. It’s movement that reveals their presence and demands a response by the predator.
And yes, there are frogs calling, right now!
I’ve heard spring peppers and upland chorus frogs calling. This, is their spring. And though I haven’t heard a pickerel frog call yet, it can’t be more than a matter of days before I do.