Defiant hawks

by Greg Mayer

In a serendipitous coincidence for Chicago hockey fans, my Florida correspondent has sent me today this photo of a defiant young hawk.

Defiant baby hawk, Fort Myers, Fla., May 2014.

Defiant baby hawk, Fort Myers, Fla., May 2014.

Like its Chicago confreres, it refuses to go down without a fight. The hawk is in the correspondent’s front yard; she thinks “the wind wrecked the nest. There is a second baby up in the tree. ”

I don’t know what species it is; perhaps readers can provide an ID.


  1. Joe L
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink


    • Larry Esser
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that was the very first thing that came to mind, an osprey. One more vote for this being an osprey chick!

    • JoeyM
      Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Exactly what I was going to say

  2. Bill T.
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Leave it alone. The parents will take care of it.

  3. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Honorary Blackhawk?

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      It is quite downy.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted May 30, 2014 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        Get it? Crickets.

  4. Larry LeClair
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Looks a lot like the Red-tailed Hawk nestlings on the Cornell Univ. Bird Cam site:

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Lovely blue eyes. Surprisingly, it could well be a very young red tailed hawk. I have pictures from the internet that show very similar pre-fledged chicks, including the eyes, and the caption says they are red tails. I cannot link to them from where I am right now.

  6. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    At least Mayer’s correspondent is sensible, and hopefully the hawk can cope with the cats. A local young woman, herself a mother apparently, won the Darwin award the other day when trying to restore a baby bird to the roof of a 3 store building. :-/

  7. alexandra
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Somebody just told this hawk that there are people who believe there is a god….

  8. Rick
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I wondered if you were a fan of the Blackhawks. I recently read a review of a book on hockey’s origins, and it cites a bit about Darwin being one of the earliest players of the game:

    “In a letter dated 1 March, 1853, Darwin writes to his son William, who has gone to Shrewsbury School where the father of evolutionary theory had been a pupil: ‘My Dear Old Willy … have you got a pretty good pond to skate on? I used to be very fond of playing at Hocky on the ice in skates.'”

    Here’s the link to the article:

    • Rick
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      I don’t like that I suggested that you (Prof. Coyne) are a ‘Hawks fan. I realize that “Defiant hawks” was posted by someone else. As well, an allusion to the ‘Hawks doesn’t make someone a fan. Sorry about that.

  9. John Harshman
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    When in doubt, it’s safe to consider any buteo seen in the continental U.S. to be a redtail. This one is tough because it has mostly the downy, white nestling plumage, with the adult feathers just beginning to grow in. Still, I think we can see the beginnings of a belly band and a black patagium.

    The blue eyes are cool, but of course neonate humans show the same phenomenon.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Second for Red-tailed.

      Great shot, sweet bird!

  10. Nick
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Greg, I think it is a red shouldered Hawk. I really want to tame him and name him Xerxes, but Kelsey says that is not the best example for our daughters. It is tough being a good role model! There is a lot of activity happening in the nest and sometimes we see him and others we don’t. I fear is someone will drive by and see him and take him. He will be okay playing in our banyan trees’ roots.

    • John Harshman
      Posted May 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      If you see the parents, you should know what he is. Are the parents red-shouldered hawks, or are they red-tailed?

    • Posted May 30, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Nick– Yeah, I think Kelsey’s right on this! If he can’t clamber back up the banyan by himself (or with help from parents), you might call Florida Fish & Wildlife– they might have trained people who can put him back up in the nest.

      On the ID, try to get a picture of the parents– I’ll post it so our bird-savvy readers can weigh in.


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