Since we recently mowed the hay in the field across from the house, this Red Tail has been using the fence posts to perch hunt. And each time we go out to take a photo, as soon as we put the camera up to our face, it flies off and we are only able to get one good shot. Around 80 or 90 feet is the closest we can get. This is new for us, because they have not perch hunted on the fence posts ever before. There are 14 subspecies of Red Tailed Hawks, the ones here are Buteo jamaicensis borealis. We have had a pair of Red Tailed Hawks nesting here for at least ten years now, they used to nest in a small wood lot behind the cemetery but that has been cleared out to expand the cemetery, so the hawks have moved from there into the wood across the road from us. I have not found their nest yet. The nest is built from 13 feet to 69 feet in the tree and is made of large sticks and is lined with softer material inside the bowl where the eggs are laid. Red Tails are sexually mature at 2 years of age, and you can see them in the spring courtship flying, as a pair, they soar in circles as the male dips and dives and then rises up around the female. He may even touch her talons with his in mid air. Red Tails are one of the easiest hawks to train for Falconry, Falconers are allowed to take "Passage Hawks", that is hawks that have left the nest but are less than one year old. At that age they have not developed adult behaviors. Immature Red Tails have yellow irises, and as they age the iris turns red brown. This hawk is an adult and as you can see, it has some interesting white patches on its back, and it breast is very pale with very little markings. In the Fall my Red Tailed Hawk will fly South and I will wait to see it appear again in the Spring, for another year of, courtship, nesting and hunting.
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