Taken For Granted

(Above: red-shouldered hawk wipes bill on railing after eating red swamp crayfish, on post behind hawk) I recently spent a few days at a coastal Virginia hawk watch witnessing hundreds of hawks passing overhead on their migratory treks south. Osprey, sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks, harriers, bald eagles, merlins and kestrels made up the bulk of the cast. And, of course, there were lesser birds as palm warblers, parula, kinglets, flickers, as well various butterflies, like monarch, buckeye, and fiery andRead more

Red Shoulders and Red Tails

As I walked past the last shrub in the line of hazel alders and into the clearing I was a bit startled by a red-shouldered hawk no more than four feet distance from me, at eye level. The hawk seemed just as surprised as I as we stared wide-eyed at one another on the north edge of the wetland. The hawk’s stare briefly intensified, then relaxed. I slowly backed up so as not to force the hawk to flight. ItRead more


Top Photo: What December should look like. It’s December, for sure, but it’s been an unusually warm December, so far. We should enjoy it while we can. And, that’s just what Animal Keeper Autumn did the other day as she and Misha, our red-tailed hawk, went for a walk around the Museum’s outdoor campus. If you like turtles, this is a good time to see them. In fact, you may see some of our “light-sleeping” yellow-bellied sliders out and about onRead more

Bluebird Update 4.14.15

It was only one week ago when the nest box at the Cow Pasture contained a mere two pine needles. It now has a complete nest and one bluebird egg behind its wooden walls. It took these bluebirds a while to get started, but they wasted little time since the last time I checked this box. I suspect I’ll find more eggs in the nest box next week. Last week the nest box next to the Bungee Jump (Take Off)Read more

Bluebird Update 7/8/14

One nest has fledged all their bluebirds while two nests are still in the early stages, one contains eggs, the other four fresh nestlings. The Cow Pasture bluebirds have flown their coop. Upon inspection, the nest box was empty except for hundreds, no thousands, of very tiny spiders. At first sight I thought the minute creatures were mites, maybe even ticks. I thought that perhaps their parents had fed off the birds in the nest, laid eggs and now theRead more

Red, White, and Blue, sort of

The red I heard the call of the hawk before I saw it. As I turned, the bird came in to a Loblolly Pine over the Train Station here at the Museum. It was carrying something of weight and bulk in its talons though I couldn’t make out what it was. The bird began to call out, keee-eeeer, keee-eeeer, keee-eeeer! I could hear another bird calling as well, a whiny and slower keeeear…keeear…keear. As I looked up the other hawkRead more

High Flying Birds

It all started while on the Main Wetlands Overlook. I was talking about the previous week’s weather, birds, and other creatures with photographer Kevin Odom. There were currently alto cumulus and cirrus clouds above and I wondered if a front was moving in on us. Suddenly, in came a great blue heron. The bird landed on a boulder out in the Wetlands, looked around a bit and began to preen, a good opportunity to get some nice photos. Then, KevinRead more

Bald Eagles

Three Bald Eagles passed over our air space today (5/7/13). I was talking with Ranger Rock at the Bungee Jump about the chickadee and bluebird nests here at the Museum, when he looked up and saw one, then two, large birds soaring in the gray, overcast sky above. Both birds were Bald Eagles. And finally, almost fifteen minutes after the first two eagles passed, a third came into sight riding the beginnings of the same thermal as a Red-tailed Hawk. I’veRead more

The Eagle and the Hawk

The following URL was passed along to me by Jennifer here at the Museum. It’s a live Eagle Cam from Duke Farms in New Jersey. The live feed is of an eagle’s nest in a sycamore tree. More interesting is a previously recorded video that is linked to on the right side of the web page (click on “2013-03-24 Red-tailed hawk Fight“ in the right hand column when you get to the main page). That particular video shows a brief battleRead more

Red shoulders?

People who are not familiar with the species often look at me with confused eyes when I tell them that the hawk perched in the trees before them in the swamp here at the Museum is a Red-shouldered Hawk. Why would they name this hawk “red-shouldered,” and where are the red shoulders? A Red-tailed Hawk has a brick-red tail. That name makes sense. The Red-shouldered Hawk (RSHA) has a reddish belly and chest. Why not name the hawk Red-bellied, orRead more