Sometimes I sit out in my yard just to watch them, high above me, on a mission only they understand.
To my delight, there are two Red-tailed Hawks that seem to consider the area right around my house their personal hunting ground. I don’t know if they are a “pair,” that is, mates. I can’t tell at this distance if one is a male and one is a female. (In truth, I couldn’t tell if I was standing next to them.)
But I do see how they work together, once an Audubon post described to me how Red-tailed Hawks guard opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels, or swoop and startle a vole or a mouse right into the talons of their partner.
I like to watch all of the birds (to my children’s disgust: they deride me as a “birdwatcher,” which means I’m both a nerd and an old lady). But I like to watch predators most of all. They’re powerful and stylish, like a sports car, and everything they do, they do dramatically.
As they soar, these hawks seem much more substantial than they really are. The most common of all hawks in North America, they’re not very big, weighing in at about three pounds. By contrast, a gallon of milk weighs almost three times as much.
But though they are little, they are fierce, to paraphrase Shakespeare.
Fun fact: The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011.