Outside the offices of the Butterfly House.

The immature Red-shoulered Hawk in the photo was sitting just outside the offices of the Butterfly House. Just below the hawk is a small pond (about 6 feet in diameter). I often see red-shouldereds out in the Wetlands queitly perched above the water’s edge waiting for frogs or other swamp creatures to pounce upon. This is the first that I’ve seen at this pond.

I’m told, however, by the folks inside the offices that this bird has visited this spot before. And why not, this is as good a spot as any around the Museum’s 84 some acres to catch frogs and other small prey items. The pond is the home to bullfrogs and turtles, and I’m sure a few rodents and perhaps shrews stop by.

Incidentally, If you look closely at the photo above you may notice a white oval on the lower portion of the window. I placed the outline of the oval there. Inside the oval is Richard Stickney also taking a photo of the hawk. Caught in a crossfire, the three of us, the hawk, me, and Richard were all photographed at the same time.

At the same instant I took the photo above Richard took one from inside the Butterfly House. (Photo, Richard Stickney)

What makes this hawk an immature? If it were an adult the wings (the flight feathers that extend down from the body of the bird) would have an almost checked black and white pattern. The tail would have alternating black and white bands.

A closer look at the young hawk (hatched last summer). Note the brown wing and tail feathers.
The front of an adult red-shouldered hawk.

Looking at the front of the hawk (photo above with me in the shot) you can see dark brown streaks on a whitish background. An adult would have reddish barring on the breast and belly (right).

You just never know what’s going to show up, and where, at the Museum. There seems always to be something interesting going on, whether it’s out in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or just about anywhere you happen to be here at the Museum of Life and Science. And, there is always something to learn.

Have a good one!

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