I think Red-Tailed Hawks are stunningly beautiful. This one is a juvenile~his (or her) tail is not yet red. I remember so well the winter day when he let me photograph him. I was at quite a distance when I first spotted him, but kept moving closer and closer expecting him to fly off any minute. The bird was so relaxed and let me get very close for quite some time. As a matter of fact, he never did fly off, I just got cold and decided it was time to go home.
Red-Tailed Hawks can vary in their coloration. They can be overall lighter or darker, and I remember being very fooled the first time I saw a dark-morph Red-Tailed. Identifying birds out in the field is one thing I’m always trying to get better at, and it’s often not easy for me. Then I read that Red-Tailed Hawks have a belly band–a horizontal strip of dark spots across their bellies. This is really easy for me to see in flying birds and helps me to recognize a Red-Tailed when I see one flying by.
I was once reading another birder’s blog and he was lamenting the fact that he had only seen the usual Red-Tailed Hawks that day. I think I could see a Red-Tailed every day for the rest of my life and never think of them as “usual” or “ordinary.”
They are one of my favorites.