What the Hawk? Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas

Tammy Brown

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas

I love to see a hawk fly over, wings and tail aglow with sunlight.  When I came to Little Piney two years ago, I couldn’t tell a hawk from a vulture.  I’ve been working on that, and now I’m familiar with many of the birds of prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas.

Red-shouldered Hawks

The most common hawk at Little Piney is the Red-shouldered Hawk.    The hawk is often watching me long before I know it’s there.

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-shouldered Hawk Watching Me

When I approach a hawk, she might fly away in annoyance, or after some reassuring eye contact, stay and allow me to watch as she hunts or eats.

Red-shouldered Hawk at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Crunch, crunch

The distinguishing marks of the Red-shouldered Hawk are black and white patterned wings and back, a barred tail…

Red-shouldered Hawk at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-Shouldered Hawk, Bastrop Tx

And a red and white barred breast.

Red-shouldered Hawk, Bastrop TX
Red-shouldered Hawk Hunting for Breakfast

You can see how well the speckled Red-shouldered Hawk blends in with the dappled leaves.

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-shouldered Hawk Blending In to the Foliage, Bastrop TX

Sometimes they don’t bother to hide.

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-shouldered Hawk in Tall Pine, Bastrop TX
Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-shouldered Hawk, Bastrop, TX

When the Red-shouldered Hawk flies overhead you can see the striped tail, dark wing tips, and red at the upper parts of the wings.

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-shouldered Hawk Flyover, Bastrop TX

The Red-tailed Hawk

The Red-tailed Hawk is a less frequent visitor to Little Piney.  From a fly-over you see dark lines at the top of the wings, and a red tail with no bars.

Red-shouldered Hawk at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-tailed Hawks: Hunting Buddies, Bastrop, TX
Red-tailed Hawk in Flight
Red-tailed Hawk Flies Over Little Piney, Bastrop, TX

Here a Red-shouldered Hawk lets the Red-tailed Hawk know he’s not welcome.   There were actually two Red-shouldered Hawks, and the calls of all three alerted us to look up.

Red-shouldered Hawks Chase Red-tailed Hawk Out of Their Territory
Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks Skirmish. Bastrop TX

Red-tailed Hawks vary greatly in color. I had to ask for help identifying this one.

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Red-tailed Hawk, Bastrop TX

Sharp-shinned Hawk

I’ve only seen a Sharp-shinned Hawk once.  Not such great photos, but I was excited to see him.  Notice the square tail.

Other Birds of Prey at Little Piney

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Osprey in Flight

The Osprey is easy to spot with his dramatic black mask and brilliant white breast.

He’s not to be confused with the Crested Caracara who is also black and white.  Notice the black head, white tail, and white wing-tips.

Crested Caracara at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
Crested Caracara in Flight, Bastrop TX

And here’s the colorful little American Kestrel, a small falcon, not likely to be confuse with anything else!

Birds of Prey at Little Piney Bastrop Texas
American Kestrel, Bastrop TX

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