So here I am parked with my RV at a beautiful camping spot in Fredericksburg, Texas. The back of the rig is overlooking a little creek with trees on either side. It’s a beautiful and peaceful spot with wonderful weather for February. Anyways, for several days I’ve been hearing a very loud and shrill call of a hawk, but I could never actually locate the hawk in the mess of trees. Every time I heard it (mostly mornings and late afternoon) I would run outside to see if I could spot it. Each time I was disappointed yet again. Finally, one time I spotted it on the edge of a branch. By the time I ran inside for my camera, it had taken off. Nevertheless, now I knew which tree it liked to perch and call from and I was ready for it to return. Later that day I was able to capture it for the first time. I am a pretty good distance from it, but it helped me to be able to officially identify it as a red-shouldered hawk. When it flies, it goes low to the creek and I can’t see it. But when this red-shouldered hawk lands in that tree, I can! I was so excited to get a photo and confirm the species.
Tips for finding a bird you hear:
So my advice to anyone out there hearing a bird, but not seeing it. Be persistent. Scan the trees for it and use its calling to help narrow the search area. If you keep trying, I’m pretty sure you’ll succeed. How do I find a bird in a tree? It’s not always easy. I do usually scan the tops branches though for raptors. They usually like to perch high to spot prey. Also, look for a beak (usually a brighter color) and even legs that are not tree colored. In this case, the bird’s calling definitely helped me locate it.
Then I went on to learn a little about it. Here’s what I learned.
Red-shouldered hawks are usually found near water as they will hunt anything from frogs to snakes to mice. Red-shouldered hawks have a very distinct and shrill call and are often heard before spotted. They are mostly found in the east, but there are some in California. Also learned that blue jays like to imitate their call. Recently, these hawks have been less common and are not often spotted. (I sure felt lucky when I read this.) Has anyone else ever seen a red-shouldered hawk? Or maybe simply heard it?