Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Week 39

25 Sep 2013, Wekiwa Springs State Park

Birds are supposed to fly!!!

Tell that to this Short-tailed Hawk that hung motionless in the air.  This hawk went into a "kiting" position with wings in a soaring profile, tail slightly down and head down looking for its prey.  It stayed in this position for 60-75 seconds, then stooped ... diving on its prey at a very fast speed straight down.

This image and the image below were taken after its kiting and stoop.  It is too bad the sky was so gray and bright because these two images could have looked really good with a normal sky.

This is a rare species in the USA, somewhere around 200 breeding pairs.  Except for an outlier in AZ, this species only breeds in the USA in Florida.


  1. What a stunning looking hawk Robert! A bird I wish I had been able to photograph in Florida, maybe one day.

  2. Hi Mia. Yes, a really interesting hawk to observe. The dark morph is more attractive than these images show because the bright sky degrades the images. To see this hawk hang motionless for so long, and then sometimes parachute lower, just falling slowly without moving, is so cool. When they stoop, they look like a Peregrine Falcon. They also like to glide in a straight line, then retrace their path looking for prey. The behavior alone of this hawk can ID it for you, even if you can't see field marks.

  3. Wonderful encounter! I've only seen it once and it took my breath away.