Last week, during some of the coldest weather that we have experienced here in central Indiana, I looked out my front window and was surprised to see a Red-tailed Hawk sitting in a large tree in front of our house. It caught me off guard since we tend to see Coopers and Red-shouldered Hawks more often in our yard. Even though it was extremely cold, I couldn’t resist the urge to grab my camera and run outside to take some photos. The hawk didn’t mind me being outside, but it wasn’t long before a group of Blue Jays found the hawk and chased it off!
Over the next few days, I saw the hawk all over our neighborhood. Many people are used to seeing Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks at their backyard bird feeders but a Red-tailed Hawk is a little more unusual. The hawk then became increasingly common in my backyard, and it always showed up when the squirrels were eating any of the seed that the birds had dropped. To many people who enjoy backyard bird feeding, it’s hard to watch a bird of prey catch lunch or dinner right in their own yard, but I don’t mind watching these amazing predators work. It’s just the circle of life in the avian world. The hawk never made a catch while I was watching, but I think the lack of squirrels around my bird feeders recently is a good indication that the hawk has indeed been eating well.