Wanamassa Birds

I frequently stroll the streets of Wanamassa, NJ, with camera at the ready to take pictures of birds.

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Location: Ocean, New Jersey, United States

Monday, June 07, 2010

Two Hawks on Church Spire

I had a painful visit to the dentist this afternoon having a crown fitted to my upper back tooth. But I digress. On the way back home, I passed the First United Methodist Church at Oakhurst, NJ, and there on the spire were both red-tailed hawks. We frequently see one of them up there, but it's rare to see both. But I didn't have my camera with me. I rushed home, grabbed the camera and went back to the church.

In the twenty minutes this took, the hawks had taken flight. I decided to park anyway and take a look around for them. And there they both were, maybe half a mile south of the church, making lazy circles in the sky. One of them peeled off and headed back to the church. I blew the opportunity to get good pictures of its final approach because I pointed the camera at the wrong part of the church spire. This first shot was taken moments after it alighted on the cross. Happily, it chose to point towards the sun which was getting low in the sky.

Almost immediately, it looked to the south and called to its mate.

It didn't take long for the other bird to respond. This time, I caught its approach.

It was almost as though the first bird was surprised by its mate's arrival. Or perhaps the cross rocked a little under the weight of the second bird. This was definitely a, "Hey, don't rock the boat!" moment.

So here they are, side-by-side. The question is, which is which. How do you tell the gender of a red-tailed hawk?

Here's the last picture I took. Both birds flew off towards the west. I was looking down at my camera each time!

Can anyone help with the genders?


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