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


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

      Exactly what I was going to say

    • 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!

  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.

    • 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.


    • 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?


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