Crows Protest Against Screaming Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

The Summer Solstice was today and it started with a hew and a cry. Just after 9 am I heard the screaming of a hawk and the crows went crazy. The crows nesting in the Locust tree out back, began to “caw-caw-caw”, frantically until the hawk left the area.

I craned my neck out my bedroom window but couldn’t see the Hawk in the sky. The hawk  twice gave that husky, piercing scream which told me it was a Red-tailed.

The call was not the short two-syllable “kerr-kerr” of the Red-shouldered nor the high-pitched whistle (papeeeee) of the Broad-winged.

I eliminated the Accipiter Hawks because they often stay quiet during the nesting season. But the Buteos can be vocal.

Several hawks are permanent residents here in Philadelphia. The Red-tailed (Buteo jamaicensis) is the most numerous. You can see them circling high in the sky all year around. And Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) live here. Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) nest in a few spots within the city proper. A Bald Eagles pair produced two chicks this past April in John Heinz NWR at Tinicum.

Summer residents include Broad-winged Hawks (Buteo platypterus), Red-shoulders (Buteo lineatus) and Osprey (Pandion haliaetus). Osprey can be found hunting along the two rivers, the Schuylkill and the Delaware.

A Sharp-shinned Hawk visited my backyard bird feeders two autumns ago. But on that day left empty handed. Sharpies travel through the area during the autumn migration.

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