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Monday, January 31, 2005

The Red-tailed Hawk and the Ring-necked Pheasant

I just received the following story from a reader who birds in Prospect Park. I really enjoyed it and had to share:

"I noticed that the ring-necked pheasant hasn't been reported for a while in Prospect. I went looking for it yesterday and found it near the dead beech tree by the lower pool. It was being attacked by a red-tail. The hawk made a try at the pheasant just as I arrived and then flew to a perch in a tree on the west side of the lower pool. It then returned and made a couple more efforts from a perch directly above the pheasant on a downed tree. I have to admit my sympathies were entirely with the pheasant!!! After a couple of sorties, the hawk flew off and the pheasant resumed munching on some plant stalks. After about ten minutes another red-tail perched in a tree nearby. It either didn't see the pheasant or didn't need a meal because it flew off after a few minutes. By this time, it was getting dark and another birder (first name Julio) had come by and got some shots of the pheasant and the 2d red-tail on his camera. The pheasant seemed to be settling in for the night so we headed home.

Do you think a re-tail could take a bird as large as a pheasant? By the way, while coming into the park that afternoon, I saw a red-tail perched on top of the arch in Grand Army Plaza. It then flew into the trees behind the Slocum monument and caught a meal. That was the first time I'd seen a red-tail on the arch. [ ... ] - Doug Schoppert"

FYI - Big Mama regularly perches on the top of the monument. She usually blends in well with the design...her favorite spot is on the head of an eagle.

-Click here for more info on Grand Army Plaza-


april said...

Regarding the question as to whether a Red-tailed Hawk could "take" a Pheasant -- I've seen a Sharpie with a Mockingbird, probably a similar size and weight differential. I'm always surprised at what a hungry raptor will attempt to grab.

Currently my husband and I (birders both) are living in San Antonio, TX. We moved here for the birding, even though we tell people it was for the weather (GRIN!). However, we have fond memories of living in Queens and birding at both Jamaica Bay and Alley Pond Park. Unfortunately, we never ventured over to Prospect Park to try our hand there. Nice to read about it here!

If you'd like to read a bit about the birding/nature life here, my blog is:


Rob J. said...

Hi April,

I checked out your blog, nice backyard list! If you ever find yourself back in NYC let me know and I'll give you a tour of Prospect Park.


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