Daytona Beach, FL
Convenience Store Hawk
Photograph - Original Photography By Deborah Benoit
As I was driving down the road I noticed this hawk land on the ground in front of a convenience store. As there was no traffic on my right side I moved over to turn into the store parking lot. This hawk flew up on this stump and sat there. I got out of my car took 5 shots as it watched me and them it flew off. I love nature.
The breeding habitats of the Red-shouldered Hawk are deciduous and mixed wooded areas, often near water. Like almost all raptors, the Red-shouldered Hawk is monogamous and territorial. While courting or defending territories, the distinctive, screaming kee-aah call (usually repeated three to four times) of this bird is heard. Courtship displays occur on the breeding grounds, and involve soaring together in broad circles while calling, or soaring and diving toward one another. Males may also perform the "sky-dance" by soaring high in the air, and then making a series of steep dives, each followed by a wide spiral and rapid ascent. These courtship flights usually occur in late morning and early afternoon.
Red-shouldered Hawks' mating season is between April and July, with activity usually peaking between April and mid-June. The breeding pair builds a stick nest (also sometimes including shredded bark, leaves and green sprigs) in a major fork of a large tree. They often use the same nest year after year, refurbishing it annually with sticks in the spring. The clutch size is typically three to four eggs. The blotchy-marked eggs, often brown to lavender in color, measure on average 54.5 mm � 43 mm (2.15 in � 1.7 in). The incubation period can range from 28 to 33 days. Hatching is asynchronous, with the first chick hatching up to a week before the last. The hatchlings, which weigh 35 g (1.2 oz) at first, are brooded almost constantly by the female for up to 40 days. The male more often captures food but will also incubate and brood occasionally. The young leave the nest at about six weeks of age, but remain dependent on the parents until they are 17 to 19 weeks old. They may continue to roost near the nest site until the following breeding season. Breeding maturity is usually attained at 1 or 2 years of age.
Although they have lived as long as within a month of 20 years old, few live half that long and only around half survive their first year. Early mortality can be due to natural causes, relating to harsh weather conditions, or more often starvation. Humans, unintentionally or intentionally are a threat to Red-shouldered Hawks, including hunting, collision with electric wires, road accidents and logging. A further common cause of mortality is natural predation. Raccoons, martens, fishers and large arboreal snakes can predate eggs, hatchlings, fledgings and occasionally incubating and brooding adults. Non-nesting adults, being a fairly large and powerful predator, have fewer natural predators, but (both during and after the breeding season) they may be predated by Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, Barred Owls, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and Bald and Golden Eagles. Many of the same predators sometimes compete over territory and food with this species. In Florida, Red-shouldered Hawks sometimes collaborate and peaceably coexist with American Crows (usually an enemy to all other birds because of their egg-hunting habits) so they cooperatively mob mutual predators, mainly Great Horned Owls and Red-tailed Hawks.
April 24th, 2013
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