Tag Archive | raptors

Bird Profile: Red-tailed Hawk

Chances are you have seen this species before; this large hawk is one of the most widely distributed, numerous and commonly observed raptors in Canada. With a wingspan of up to 1.4m (58”) the Red-tailed Hawk is a highly variable buteo; soaring hawks that have wide tails and long, broad wings. Circling high up in the air, the Red-tailed Hawk can see mice scurrying about on the ground from 30 m (100ft) up .

This particular hawk in the photo appears to have done just that; he saw a mouse and then caught it, bringing the unfortunate rodent away to eat it, flying right over my head in the process of carrying off the mouse.

As mentioned before, the Red-tailed Hawk is a highly variable hawk with at least 14 recognized subspecies; ranging from the dark ‘Harlan’s Hawk’ to the ‘Krider’s Hawk’, a very pale subspecies of the Red-tailed Hawk.

Red-tailed Hawks love woodlands near open country; therefore, their habitat is diverse and they can be seen almost anywhere in Calgary. In summer, we tend to see light-colored morphs of the Western calurus the most and in migration and winter, we usually see dark morph ‘Harlan’s Hawks’. Also, in the southern part of Alberta, we have some krider’s Red-tailed Hawks. However, no matter what subspecies you see, they are still very impressive, especially when you get a good look at those talons!

Posted by Matthew Sim

Swainson’s Hawk

While we were at Inglewood Bird Sanctuary doing our Big Sit, we came across a very interesting sight. There, perched on the ground, maybe ten feet off the path, was a dark-morph Swainson’s Hawk. The dark-morph Swainson’s Hawk has a dark-brown colour over most of its body; the more common light morph has a brown bib contrasting with white underparts. This particular hawk had a Richardson’s Ground Squirrel clutched in his claws and was regarding all the photographers and interested visitors with a haughty look.

This Swainson’s Hawk intrigued many visitors to Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

And there he sat; for over an hour we were told, he had stayed in the same spot. He finally got tired of all this hustle and bustle, deciding to try to find a quieter place to enjoy his meal in peace. However, he had not counted on catching such a heavy meal…

 Attempted take-off

After he couldn’t achieve lift-off by taking a running leap, he tried a different tactic: taking off from the spot where he stood.


Well that didn’t work either…

The hawk then decided that, seeing as he wasn’t going anywhere with his meal, he might try to eat it right then and there. And that’s what he did. He hopped back a couple of feet with his meal, to a slightly more secluded area and began to eat.

 Here, he shields his meal from potential thieves.

Hopefully his meal didn’t weigh him down too much after he ate it; otherwise, he might not be able to take off again!!!

Posted by Matthew Sim

The Osprey Cam – They’re Back!

For over 16 years, a pair of nesting Osprey has built their summer home on a platform constructed by the Calgary Zoo atop a pole erected by ENMAX Power Corporation. The platform is located at the extreme east end of St. George’s Island.

Birdwatchers have access to a bird’s eye view of an Osprey nest via a high-resolution webcam, thanks to an arrangement between the Calgary Zoo and ENMAX Corporation.

The live streaming camera captures in full cycle the birds’ dramatic seasonal milestones, from nest building and mating rituals, to egg laying, incubation, hatching, feeding and fledging, a period of intense activity that is all centred at the nest between April and September.

Watch the Osprey nest camera live, 24 hours a day (If you click the icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video, it will go to full screen size. To leave full screen view, hit the Esc key on your keyboard)

There is also an Osprey Blog following the action in this nest

Posted by Pat Bumstead