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Buteo jamaicensis calurus
This large brown raptor had one leg holding its prey. It was a very hot day and this poor bird was panting heavily to keep cool.
Coastal scrub and chaparral at Daley Ranch
Me either my friend :) Thank yo so much for the wonderful information on hawks!
I had not considered a weasel only because the weasels in my part of the country have much more fur on their tails. Muskrats are found in many areas of California, and the tail appears to be of that of a muskrat. I am however not formally trained, and could be wrong.
Cindy I will remove my suggestion.
I fear it was me that scared it as I was walking along the trail and didn't see it behind a bush. I was just wondering what it caught. My first thought was the Long-tailed Weasel but only because it's a mammal I know is in the area. I'm not sure the muskrat is found in so-cal but then after my recent sharpshooter spotting, anything is possible ;)
I wish I had a better monitor to view this, but I think its prey is a muskrat from the color of its fur, and the tail. It was panting because it had to bring a rather heavy load up to that pole to eat it. Often times a hawk will eat it's prey where caught ( on the ground) but will carry fish, and birds up into trees or utility poles. I have seen owls take full grown rabbits high into trees, and hawks take birds nearly their size up into trees, eagles carry fish that weigh several pounds up into trees. I have never seen a hawk take a muskrat up into a tree or onto a utility pole. It does this often times to be alone and not be bothered while it feasts. Perhaps It was afraid of losing its catch to something else.
Ah, I see what you mean. Thank you again Willie!
Cindy, Please go and look at the legs of most Raptors, on a Bird Sight. The feathers end at the joint in their leg. The leg that is closest to the front of the photo appears to be bent all the way with the joint pressing down on whatever it is it is holding. Notice the feathers on the further leg and then the leg furthest forward. If as I suggest it has its leg bent at the joint, the leg joint bends forward ( opposite of our joints ) The feathers pattern of both legs appears to me to be the same. I think this bird is just fine, and has a meal up there with him.
Hi Willie, thank you so much for the offer! The hawk flew across the valley to a utility pole so it was far away. I originally thought it had something light in color in its talons but after cropping the image a bit, I saw it was feathers. I just cropped it a lot and you were right about the prey! It still appears to have feathers only one leg though.Luckily my camera setting was high so I was able to crop it a lot!
Cindy, I do not have a great monitor to view your spotting. I would suggest that you take your photo and crop it and see if, what you are seeing is nothing more then an optical illusion. I think it has its foot on something it has up there to eat. I enlarged the photo as big as I could on my labtop, and I think I see a head of something toward the front of the pole, and a tail hanging off the pole. I believe the front talon is much farther forward then you believe, and that the joint of the leg is pressed down against whatever it is that it is holding. Please let me know, or send me the file in an email and I will explore it for you.
Thank you all for the ID and info on the panting! Any idea why only one leg has feathers and not the other one?
I said probably Red-tail , Liam says Red-tail. Liam is rarely ever wrong on his bird ID's, I would say it is a Red-tail.
Primary projection isn't long enough for Swainson's. See the tail is longer than the primaries. Cool photos!
Nice find and cool looking bird!
Cindy it is a hawk, probably a red-tailed hawk although from the photos posted I can not be certain. Most raptors pant heavily after they have chased prey. I suspect the bird was panting because it had been chasing a prospective meal. Heat can play a factor, but physical activity generally has more to do with a bird of prey panting then heat.
Lat: 33.17, Long: -117.05
Spotted on Sep 4, 2012 Submitted on Sep 5, 2012